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Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 18:19 GMT
Tragedy of the child casualties
Ahmedabad
All four floors of the school in Ahmedabad collapsed
The Gujarat earthquake struck on a national public holiday, when most schoolchildren were away from the classroom.

However, in the town of Anjar, 350 children and 50 teachers had gathered for a parade to celebrate India's Republic Day.

They are still missing after surrounding buildings collapsed into the narrow lane where they were marching when the earthquake struck.

Ahmedabad
Many children were caught trying to flee the quake
"All the schoolchildren along with their teachers are buried under the rubble," the local police chief told the AFP news agency.

In Ahmedabad, the state's commercial city, 15 high school students remain trapped under the ruins of their school.

The building collapsed soon after they arrived for a special class on their day off.

Of the 37 teenagers who had arrived for the class, six were rescued within hours and the bodies of 16 have also been recovered.

"Until Friday afternoon we could hear the cries of the children, now we hear nothing," said police inspector Ramesh Barot.

As the increasingly hopeless rescue mission continued, mothers of the missing 15 huddled under a makeshift tent while fathers waited alongside the police cordon surrounding the school.

"I want my son back. Why can't they do something?" asked Nainabehn Patel, whose son, Bhowmik, 16, is somewhere under the rubble.

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See also:

27 Jan 01 | South Asia
Indian quake deaths 'rise to 7,000'
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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