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The BBC's Jill McGivering in Ahmedabad
"The army has now rushed to the scene"
 real 56k

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Ahmedabad
"In this city the earthquake singled out buildings and brought them down in seconds"
 real 56k

Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 10:36 GMT
Quake victims' massive needs
Residents survey damage in Ahmedabad
Flats and houses have been levelled
Relief efforts are continuing for the thousands of survivors who have been left homeless and without essential services by Friday's massive earthquake.

International aid agencies urgently called for emergency supplies as the first shipments of food, medicine and tents began to arrive in the western Indian state of Gujarat.


We need 25,000 to 30,000 tents

Gujarat Home Minister, Haren Pandya
Houses, apartment buildings and even entire villages were levelled by the earthquake, forcing thousands to sleep outdoors.

Most gas pipelines, power supply stations and water services were knocked out.

Hospitals overwhelmed

Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya said people were in desperate need of food, water and petrol.

''Immediately we need 25,000 to 30,000 tents to set up some camps for the homeless,'' he said.

Mr Pandya said the government had set up satellite phones to replace the telephone services which were out of order.

Damaged flats
Water and electricity supplies have been knocked out
''The most immediate concern is search and rescue,'' said Patrick Fuller, an International Red Cross official in Ahmedabad. ''After that the focus is on ensuring water and medical supplies.''

Hospitals, many without power or water, have been overwhelmed by the number of injured people. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city, doctors were forced to treat patients in the street.

The town of Bhuj, 20km (15m) from the epicentre, was the worst hit with hundreds of homes and multi-story buildings destroyed.

Convoys

Injured people and homeless families slept in the open in villages along the road to Bhuj as army convoys of ambulances and water tankers moved in.


Everything has been demolished

Dawood Ismail Siddhi of Pachchao town

In Pachchao, a town of 40,000, 70km (42m) from Bhuj, 80% of the buildings have been destroyed.

''There is nothing left between the sky and the earth any more. Everything has been demolished,'' said Dawood Ismail Siddhi, whose two nephews died in the quake.

The government said it planned to send 10,000 tents, 10,000 tonnes of grain, doctors and surgeons as well as communications experts to devastated area.

Help offered

''We have decided to meet the emergency on a war footing,'' said the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. ''This is the time for people to rally around.''

He has made no appeal for international aid.

But countries around the world, even Pakistan, India's bitter South Asian rival, have offered assistance, both rescue teams to find survivors and relief supplies to help the homeless.

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See also:

27 Jan 01 | UK
UK rescuers head for India
14 Jan 01 | World
Deadly history of earthquakes
30 Mar 99 | Medical notes
Natural disasters
22 Feb 00 | South Asia
Oxfam attacks Indian disaster policy
26 Jan 01 | South Asia
Tight security for India celebration
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