* One lakh feared dead: Fernandes
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister George Fernandes today apprehended that the death toll in the earthquake that devastated Gujarat could be as high as a staggering one lakh. Fernandes, who visited the worst affected areas including Bhuj, Anjar, Rapar and Ahmedabad, told PTI here "if my worst fears come true, the death toll could be in six figures." Fernandes said the old city of Bhuj has been totally ravaged and "we don't know how many people are lying under the debris." Bhuj, which has a population of 150,000, has been totally ravaged and is non-existent, he said.
Anjar, the second most populous town with a population of 80,000, was under debris except for some new buildings which are outside the township. "People there are in an ugly mood complaining that nothing by way of relief has come to them. Their assessment was minus a few thousands which are injured, rest of the people were under the debris", he said. The minister said in Bachau, which has a smaller population of 40,000, the situation was no different. He said situation in other badly affected areas of Rapar town in Kutch region where already 370 deaths have been reported, and from nearby smaller villages, the casualty figures were going up.
* Gandhidham virtually destroyed
GANDHIDHAM: One of the worst affected regions in Kutch is Gandhidham, located ten kilometres from the port town of Kandla. Here nearly 400 people have already died and with bodies still under the rubble that figure is likely to rise. In the areas surrounding Gandhidham, the devastation was total with villages almost completely wiped out. Shocked survivors of the disaster are out on the roads begging for food and water. The situation is far worse in the neighbouring villages of Motichari, Bhachau and Ratnal.
* Rescue efforts inadequate
GANDHIDHAM: As many as 4,000 people are feared dead in the industrial town of Gandhidham while thousands more lie buried under the debris waiting to be excavated. Owing to slow pace of rescue and relief operations, chances of finding victims alive were few.
* One of the worst calamities: PM
BHUJ: A visibly moved Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today visited some of the quake-ravaged parts in the Kutch region and saw for himself death and devastation wrought by ``one of the worst natural calamities in India and the world'' as he put it. Ignoring seismologists' advice to defer his visit to Gujarat in the wake of continuing aftershocks, Vajpayee landed in Kandla and drove 55 km to Bhuj, where alone over 20,000 people were feared killed in Friday's disaster. He had already sanctioned a Rs 500-crore package for relief and rehabilitation.
* Massive exodus
AHMEDABAD: A massive exodus has started from the city and other quake-affected areas of Gujarat as survivors are running out of patience with rumours of another impending earthquake. Thousands of harried people, who have already spent three sleepless nights out in the cold, are leaving for destinations out of state by bus, trains and cars.
* HAM operators start communication
BHUJ: Teams of HAM operators (amateur radio) from the National Institute od Amateur Radio, Hyderabad and Mumbai have arrived in Bhuj to assist the state government in restoring at least basic communication links.
* City toll rise to 700
AHMEDABAD: By day four, Ahmedabad had a fresh problem on hand. The official list of dead had gone upto 700 and at least 550 people have have approached the authorities from the Paldi, Vasna and Ellisbridge wards alone to have their buildings examined after mild tremors continued to rock them. The AMC have prepared a list of about 18 towers in the city that ae likely to be demolished, as they are now a threat to life.
* Life limping back to normalcy
SURAT: The city appeared to pick up its pace gradually on Monday with several of the textile units started functioning. After spending three days in fear, Rajkotians are slowly piecing together their life. Markets reopened, banks started functioning normally.
* Nine tremors recorded on Monday
AHMEDABAD: According to Ahmedabad Meterological department nine aftershocks were recorded on Monday 29th January. Richter scale 4.4 (0101 hrs), 4.6 (0112 hrs), 3.6 (0224 hrs), 3.5 (0325 hrs), 4.6 (0709 hrs), 3.8 (0956 hrs), 3.7 (1252 hrs), 3.5 (1416 hrs), 4.5 (1509 hrs).
The Weather -=-=-=-
Ahmedabad: Maximum temperature 30 deg C, and minimum was 11 deg C.