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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 17:29 GMT
Quake leaves million homeless
Family leaves with their belongings
Many have lost their homes and possessions
More than one million people are now homeless in the western Indian state of Gujarat after the massive earthquake, UN officials say.

As hopes of finding further survivors fade, aid agencies are scrambling to bring food, shelter and water to the 250,000 families now without a home.

Quake victims
Mouths to feed: 250,000 families homeless
A Unicef official says an estimated 2.5 million children have lost their two safe havens - their homes and schools.

At least 30,000 people have died in the quake which took place two weeks ago in a region still battling the aftermath of a cyclone in 1998 followed by a drought.

A representative of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team, Joe Barr, said conditions on the ground were still highly unstable.

"The aftershocks are still being felt. People are afraid to go inside the buildings as they have developed cracks," Mr Barr told journalists in Delhi.

Living rough

Residents are now mostly living in tents and cars after the quake, which flattened thousands of buildings.

About 55,000 people were injured by the quake, which registered 7.9 on the Richter scale.


People are afraid to go inside the buildings as they have developed cracks

UN official Joe Barr
But life is slowly returning back to normal with the first signs of business activity.

Correspondents say the quake has not dampened the entrepreneurial spirit for which the region is famous, with vegetable sellers back on the streets.

A UN official in charge of coordinating relief in Gujarat state said aid was pouring in, but there was still a need for more.

"We are told the earthquake was serious in sparsely populated areas, but sparsely populated in India and Europe are very different," said Ted Pearn.

Trauma

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has spent nearly $10m in relief supplies so far and will be spending another 10m over the next three months, said spokeswoman Maria Calivis.

She said Unicef would concentrate on trauma counselling for parents and teachers as well as setting up basic schools in tents.

Child victim
Trauma: the wounds aren't always physical
Doctors have warned that India's worst earthquake for 50 years has left deep psychological scars, making counselling an urgent priority for humanitarian groups.

A team from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) is also assessing the full impact of the disaster on the agricultural sector and the World Food Programme has earmarked $4m for the region.

But WFP spokesman representative Pedro Medrano said in Delhi that coordination among aid agencies was hampered by the extent of the disruption.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jill McGivering
"It may be the children who'll bear some of the worst scars"
See also:

05 Feb 01 | South Asia
Two survive 10-day quake ordeal
03 Feb 01 | South Asia
Rescuers prepare to leave quake zone
01 Feb 01 | South Asia
In pictures: Aid operation in Gujarat
01 Feb 01 | South Asia
Indians mobilise for quake victims
02 Feb 01 | South Asia
Web helps find quake survivors
06 Feb 01 | South Asia
Children's quake nightmares
Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


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