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Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 12:43 GMT
Indian earthquake victims remembered
Earthquake survivors struggle to reach relief workers
Many earthquake survivors face turmoil
Victims of the Gujurat earthquake have been remembered in a unique ceremony which united representatives from all religious faiths.

The service, organised by pupils from a secondary school in Leicester, where more than a quarter of the population is from the Gujurat, took place on Tuesday evening.

Leicester has the country's largest Gujurati population and the city was hit hard by news of the earthquake, as damaged communications networks stopped worried friends and relatives contacting those in the danger area.

Lord Attenborough
Lord Attenborough: Leicester-born film-maker has pledged support
Other Gujurati communities in Birmingham, north-west London and elsewhere were also left reeling from the disaster.

Positive action

More than 200 people, including Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Jains and Bahais, came together to offer prayers and condolences to the victims of the disaster - which could have claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Mr Steve White, headmaster of Rushey Mead school, which organised the event, said: "I believe this was the first time that all the different faiths have come together for such a service.

"More than 1,000 families of the 1,300 pupils in our school have been directly or indirectly affected by the earthquake.

"The grieving process is now coming to an end and the students decided they wanted to do something positive to help the victims."

During the event a fund was launched which the pupils hope will raise enough money to build a new school in the region.

The secondary school received messages of condolence from the Prime Minister and Lord Attenborough, who was born in Leicester and pledged 1,000 to help survivors.

Deaths

The Foreign Office has confirmed that six Britons were among the thousands killed in the earthquake.

But the precise number of British people missing in the region is still to be determined.

A special helpline set up by the government has so far received 7,700 calls from people in Britain concerned about family members in India.

Many British Asians visit friends and family in Gujurat at this time of the year.

A team from the British Consulate in Bombay has been in the town of Bhuj since the start of last week gathering information and following up calls from families in the UK.

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See also:

06 Feb 01 | South Asia
Quake leaves 1.25m homeless
03 Feb 01 | UK
Quake aid flights leave UK
03 Feb 01 | South Asia
Rescuers prepare to leave quake zone
01 Feb 01 | South Asia
Indians mobilise for quake victims
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