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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 14:12 GMT
Gujarat one year on: Your experiences
It's now a year since the massive earthquake which killed over 15,000 and left 300,000 homeless in Gujarat, Western India.

The 2001 quake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale and was closely followed by several major tremors measuring up to 5.9.

International aid has been inconsistent and the Indian Government criticised for failing to provide a co-ordinated relief effort.

Tell us your experiences of reconstructing lives since the catastrophe. Was international aid delivered as promised or did the world's media lose interest too quickly? Do you have stories of good news that came out of this disaster?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

As a foreigner living in Ahmedabad during and since the quake I've witnessed both sides of the tragedy. The human resilience and extent to which people were prepared to go to help others as well as the shocking tales of greed and corruption. In Ahmedabad over 700 people died needlessly, not as a direct result of the quake but because of shameful and flagrant disregard for building rules. Some builders were arrested and held for a time, but then released. Now the state government hints they will not pursue the legal cases because the builders have "learned their lesson". That builders and politicians here share an unhealthy relationship is well known. But how tragic to tell the relatives of those 700 that their deaths were just part of builders 'learning a lesson'.
Withheld, Gujarat, India

All of us from the team enjoyed showing them how to open the cans

Paul Leplomb, France/ UK
I was in Gujarat working for an NGO in June and July, five months after the tragedy... I have a funny story, quite shameful for the European Union in fact: On a field visit, in the Ran of Kuchchh, we were invited into a home in the village. The previous week, they told us many people from the ECHO (European Humanitarian Aid Agency) had come with hundreds of boxes of food. The boxes were full of spaghetti, canned tomatoes and tuna fish. Hundred of boxes, all the way from Europe! All of us from the team enjoyed showing them how to open the cans, since the Swiss knife is not yet part of the tribal villages of this part of the world. Some of the children had injured themselves trying to fight with the cans they desperately attempted to open with stones. Most amusing however is that in this part of India, almost everyone is STRICTLY vegetarian! Well done the European Union.
Paul Leplomb, France/ UK

The public's memory is short. The world has been preoccupied with more recent disasters since the earthquake a year ago. The lives lost will never be regained, but a lot of the infrastructure has been rebuilt and property damage recovered. Apart from the efforts of the governmental authorities, private individuals have undertaken new and ingenious schemes. One such example is the adoption of devastated villages by rich Gujaratis settled all over the world. I salute the spirit of the enterprising and industrious people of Gujarat .
Raka Mukherjee, Canada

I was really awestruck by the swift and generous response of whole world in general and particularly the UK, US and other European countries. It's true humanity thrives in calamity and it was heart-warming to know the rest of world does care in the event of any major disaster. However, it seems that people don't learn from mistakes and still flout rules and regulations which make these natural disasters more lethal.
Channi Hundal, Leeds, UK

The tragedy of Gujurat is an example of the wrong priorities that both the Indian and Pakistani governments have towards welfare of their people. For the last 50 years billions of dollars have been spent on military hardware, at the cost of the basic needs of the masses.
Khalid Munir, Pakistan

I myself suffered of the earthquake which ruined Gujarat

Ruchit Matalia, India/US

I myself suffered of the earthquake which ruined Gujarat. I pray for the families of those who lost their lives. I thank all the world leaders for the support they provided us no way will be forget the help provided by them. I especially thank the doctors of our country who served the people. I thank the SSG hospital of Baroda Gujarat for their help.
Ruchit Matalia, India/US

It's sad to know that everybody, particularly the media, forgot this tragedy of the last year. Continuation of the news in the papers is the only thing that can force the government to act properly. I have not seen any news about the Gujarat earthquake for past several months.

So we stay away from Gujarat, and we do not know what happened to our relief fund and what measures the government has taken to prevent this kind of tragedy in future. My request to the media is don't forget this kind of tragedy, and keep writing about this, so we know what the government is doing for the affected people.
Viji Palaniappan, USA / India

I think it's Bhuj that suffered the most. Specifically those villages where people didn't have enough money or infrastructure. As far as Ahmedabad city is concerned, I believe it is coming back on track because it's a much more developed and industrial city, and people do have some money to back the efforts.
Sameer, USA

I'm actually in Bombay now but my hometown was Bhuj. I use the past-tense because it was devastated and the officials are still focussing on making money off peoples' misery whereas they should be helping people. As always, in India, in such tragedies, everyone prospers at the expense of the actual victims.
Samsher Verma, Bhuj, Gujarat

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