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CityScan NewsRoom - January 28-29, 2001

Gujarat Online

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* Fresh jolt
AHMEDABAD: The quake-ravaged state was once again shaken by an aftershock measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale around 6.40 am on Sunady, sparking a fresh bout of panic among the people. The government, however seems to be groping for answers as far as magnitude of the disaster is concerned with the Chief Ministre Keshubhai Patel admitting for the first time taht the toll could be as high as 20,000. The state government has advised the people to stay alert for next 48 hours and not to stay in the buildings that have developed cracks and damage.

* Rare display of grit and resilience
AHMEDABAD: Indomitable spirit speaks volumes of sheer enterprise and grit of people in Gujarat's business hub. There is hope for the city. In a rare display of grit and resilience, people cutting across all barriers have begun providing relief and succour to their not-so-lucky brethren. An entire army of volunteers seems to have sprung up from every nook and corne of the city, willing to help out quake victims. All they have bare hands, yet they are determined to break through slabs of concrete and rescue survivors.

* Blank cheque to Gujarat
NEW DELHI: The Centre has issued a `blank cheque' to Gujarat for the relief and directed RBI to not put any cap on the state's earhquake relief operations.

* PM visits today
AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is to undertake a whirlwind tour of the quake-affected areas of Kutch, particularly Bhuj, and conduct aerial survey of the worst hit Rapar, Anjar and Bhachau on Monday.

* Foreign teams assistance
AHMEDABAD: With the help of foreign teams assisting in rescue operations, at least 11 persons were extricated alive from collapsed structures on Sunday, over 48 hours after the quake. The state government has ordered the closure of all schools in the state till February 3 as many buildings have developed cracks or have collapsed.

* State may peg loss at 10,000 croreGANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government is expected to hand over a comprehensive note putting the losses suffered in Friday's earthquake at Rs 10,000 crore to Prime Minister Vajpayee during his visit here. The state government is also likely to approach the World Bank to fund a comprehensive disaster management plan.

* Dreaded criminals escape from Bhuj
BHUJ: A serious security problem has risen following the escape of 188 hardcore criminals from Bhuj jail in wake of the earthquake. Being a border district, the Bhuj jail housed infiltrators from Pakistan and smugglers charged with the peddling drugs, weapons and RDX.

* Kandla, Mundra reopen
GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government sighed in extreme relief on Sunday when news came in here in Gandhingara that the two main ports situated on Gulf of Kutch, Kandla and Mundra, have begun functioning after a three-day lapse.

* Slow relief work
BHUJ: Forty-eight hours after the devastating earthquake threw life out of gear in Kutch, relief opeartions are yet to begin. Authorities are running from pillar to post to put together things that lay strewn everywhere. There was a severe shortage of men and material to fight the catasphore. People in Bhuj are without light, water and food. Doctors at make-shift hospitals were terribly short of blood, stitches and bandages. The injured are now being treated at six make-shift hospitals in Bhuj.

* Boost of morales of rescue teams
AHMEDABAD: When 80-year old Chimanlal Shah walked out ofdebris of his collapsed home in Maninagar, after going without food and water for 48 hours, it provided the rescue teams just that adrenaline to look for more survivors under thousands of tonnes of rubble across the city. He was among the 11 survivors to be brought out alive from the debris of the collapsed buildings even as hopes of finding more survivors are fast receding. The efforts got a boost late on Saturday evening with the foreign teams from Turkey, Switzerland and Germany and also from Delhi and Chennai went around the city with sniffer dogs and life-sensors to find out if there were any survivors.

The Weather -=-=-=-

(Jan 28)
Ahmedabad: Maximum temperature 32 deg C, and minimum was 10 deg C.

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News compiled from Times Of India, Indian Express, Asian Age, Gujarat Samachar, Sandesh, etc.
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