Respite long way away for survivors in Bhuj

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Bhuj: Twenty four hours after the quake ripped through the town, the people of Bhuj woke up to aftershocks of the quake.

Bhuj has been virtually razed to the ground. All the buildings have been flattened out. There are no longer any schools, colleges or even hospitals in the town. The devastation is complete. For the survivors, respite still seems a long way away, with aftershocks in the area continuing. The population of 1.5 lakh are out on the road, fearful of stepping into any building. Many people are still trapped in the debris, especially in the walled area and all efforts are being made to get them out.

Getting out of this situation seems impossible, with no petrol or diesel available. The main bridge from Rajkot o Bhuj to Kutch is badly damaged, making it impossible for survivors to leave town. The telephone department says they have set up about 2000 lines that are now operational, making this the only communications link with the outside world, even as doctors fly into Bhuj airbase from all corners of the country.

Medical aid is perhaps the biggest need and there simply isn’t enough to go around. It has fallen entirely on the Army and Air Force now to set up tiny makeshift hospitals. Many of the wounded are being airlifted to Pune, some even to Delhi.

At the open-air military hospital in Bhuj, all one can hear is wails of people in pain or simply stunned silence, Doctors are working round the clock, under immense pressure and with hardly any infrastructure at their disposal. Patients are being operated on in makeshift wards and there is a huge scarcity of medicines. Those who are in a serious condition are being airlifted to Jamnagar and Pune for treatment.


By Nalin Mehta in www.ndtv.com - January 27, 2000
http://www.ndtv.com