Nalin Mehta reports from Bhuj

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Bhuj city is fast turning into a ghost town as people are beginning to give up hope of finding their relatives in the rubble. They are beginning to migrate out of the city. In fact we have seen truckloads of people moving out, gathering whatever they can and getting out of the city. The worst hit places are Anjar and Bacchao. Relief has not reached Anjar yet. We believe that by today afternoon the first relief package will be reaching Anjar. Some aid did reach Bacchao yesterday evening. The relief us still going on in the city. There are about 80 bulldozers working round the clock trying to clear the rubble, but that is just not good enough. They are far too few to do the kind of relief work that is required.

The other thing that is happening is that some private agencies have also started pitching in with the relief work. We believe that Reliance have moved in with some eight convoys. The biggest problem here is communicating. Bhuj is still cut off from the rest of the country. Some telephone lines have been set up by VSNL. They are providing free services. But they are very limited and it is only for the government people as yet. It is very difficult for the common people to try and communicate with others. There is a lot of panic here. People are trying to reach their relatives and friends across the country to try and tell them if they are still alive, but that is not happening.


By Nalin Mehta in www.ndtv.com - January 28, 2000
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