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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 12:00 GMT
E-mail: Survivors' fears
A man is rescued from the rubble in Anjar
A man is rescued from the rubble in Anjar
Among those caught up in the Gujarat earthquake disaster is Vivek Iyer, a doctor based in the city of Ahmedabad. This is the second of his moving descriptions of the tragedy which has been forwarded to BBC News Online by his brother Vikram in the United States:

Dear Viki,

People are still scared of getting into high rises and are sleeping the whole night out in the open.

We had a tremor on Monday morning at 6.30am which measured 5.9 on the Richter scale.

Things in Bhuj and Kutch are beyond description. The total population of Kutch may be 5-5.5 lakhs [500,00 and 550,000] so even considering a very conservative 20% dead, then the total figure would be one lakh [100,000].

A collapsed religious monument in Bhuj
A collapsed religious monument in Bhuj
There are some talukas [districts] like Rapar, Bhachau and Anjar where nothing is left standing in the whole place - not a single building so the death toll maybe anywhere up to 300,000.

Avni's [Vivek's fiancee] grandparents and mama were in Gandhidham. Avni's mama's house which was a four-storeyed flat has been reduced to rubble. However the news is that they are safe.

Avni's house in Ahmedabad has been declared unsafe by the municipal structural engineers.


These things are really sad and no amount of money can ever cure them

Vivek Iyer
They are carrying out some reinforcement with girders and may be it will be okay.

The building has developed cracks around the supporting pillars and so no one is taking any chances - otherwise the building is not as bad as it sounds.

The main reason why everyone is sleeping outside the high rise buildings is the fear of aftershocks.


There have been hundreds of aftershocks felt in Bhuj and a few in Ahmedabad. Generally aftershocks are mild but no-one wants to take chances and so everyone is sleeping outside.

Another reason for concern is the amount of illegal construction. People have gone on to build 10 storeys when given permission for eight.

All the builders have gone underground and cannot be traced.

Our hospital is filling up with all the quake victims from Bhuj etc. Most of them have head and spinal injuries.

Just think about all those small kids who have lost both parents and have no-one to take care of them. Then there are old and feeble people.


Just think about all those small kids who have lost both parents

Vivek Iyer
These things are really sad and no amount of money can ever cure them.

Let's hope that the international community comes together irrespective of past problems and tries to help us out of a real big mess.

Food riots seem to have hit many places.

People are feeling afraid, but I am sure that as usual India will ride through this one also.

Hope and pray that help comes in time for many who are still buried alive under concrete.

Bye, Vivi.

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29 Jan 01 | South Asia
E-mail: The day the earth shook
Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


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