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The BBC's Matt Frei
"It's not the earthquake that's killed people but the buildings"
 real 56k

The Pakistani High Commissioner Adbul Kadar Jaffer
"Pakistan is standing by to help"
 real 56k

The Indian High Commissioner Narashwar Dayal
"The nation is on a war footing to deal with this tragedy"
 real 56k

Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 18:22 GMT
Indian quake deaths 'rise to 13,000'
quake
More than 2,500 are thought to have died in Bhuj
Indian officials now say as many as 13,000 people may have died in the earthquake that struck the country on Friday.

More than 2,000 bodies have already been recovered and thousands more are still thought to be trapped inside collapsed buildings, including some 400 children inside a school building in Bhuj, near the epicentre.

Ahmedabad
Dozens of multi-storey buildings collapsed in Ahmedabad
At least four planes carrying soldiers, paramedics, food, medicine and tents landed at Bhuj's air force base as the country went into what Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee called a "war footing".

But in many areas it was still being left to volunteers, friends and neighbours, to dig into the rubble with whatever basic tools they could find.


There is nothing left between the sky and the earth any more. Everything has been demolished

Dawood Ismail Siddhi, Pachchao
The day's rescue efforts could prove a crucial test for the authorities, who many local people felt had acted too slowly after the disaster struck on Friday morning.

Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya, said: "Our main concern now is to conduct a fully-fledged rescue operation with as much speed as possible.

"We are concentrating on Bhuj and Ahmedadad which have been the worst hit."

Funeral pyres

The quake, measuring up to 7.9 on the Richter scale hit the western state of Gujarat while many people were still in their homes on the public holiday - Republic Day.


Worst-hit was Bhuj, where 150,000 people live just 20km (15 miles) from the epicentre.

Officials estimate that more 2,500 have died in the town, with survivors in desperate need of supplies, from bread to water to petrol.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city and its commercial capital, many high-rise buildings collapsed and collapsed houses and buildings dominated the landscape around the town.

Medical facilities are in crisis, with many hospitals damaged by the quake and overwhelmed by the demand for treatment.

Click here to send us your experience of the earthquake

Anil Chadha, superintendent of Ahmedabad's Civil Hospital, said: "This was probably one of the worst experiences I have ever had - you could call it the longest day."

hospital
Hospitals have been overwhelmed
In Pachchao, a once prosperous town of 40,000 people 70 km (42 miles) from Bhuj, about 90% of the buildings had collapsed and police have recovered 500 bodies.

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge saw funeral pyres burning on open ground around the town and scores of people trying to scramble aboard vehicles leaving the area.

Resident Dawood Ismail Siddhi, said: "There is nothing left between the sky and the earth any more. Everything has been demolished."

Injured people and affected families slept in the open on Friday as relief workers distributed tents and blankets to the homeless.

Death tolls in recent Indian earthquakes
Bihar 1988 More than 1,000
Uttar Pradesh 1991 More than 1,000
Maharashtra 1993 At least 7,500
Uttar Pradesh 1999 More than 100

The quake was felt in neighbouring Pakistan, where authorities in Pakistan say eight people died, and as far away as Nepal and Bangladesh.

It was the most powerful quake to strike India since 1950, when an 8.5 magnitude quake killed 1,538 people in north-eastern Assam state.

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See also:

27 Jan 01 | South Asia
Quake victims' massive needs
27 Jan 01 | South Asia
Eyewitness: Anguish amid the rubble
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