KUTCH ZONE (Guj) - EARTHQUAKE: (Feb 2001)
Published (1) N E W S L E T T E R of BHARATIYA SINDHU SABHA (Sindhi) Mar-2001 (2) partly in “Sindhi International”, April 2001
Tour OF Earthquake affected areas of Kutch in February 2001
(Mohan G. Rohira)
After learning about the great natural calamity of the earthquake in Gujarat, particularly Kutch (on 26/1/2001) ,I along with 7 prominent persons in a group had gone there on behalf of Bandra Hindu Association, International Sindhi Forum, Mataji Rampyari Darbar and Sindhi Social Samaj, Khar (Mumbai), for the purpose of surveying the situation and distribution of relief materials. The report in a nutshell is as under :
The exact casualty figures cannot be ascertained as some have been buried alive under the debris and those who were saved or injured have left the broken houses and migrated to their relatives / Friends. Hence wherever possible approximate figures are given. The tragedy is beyond description.
Twin cities of Adipur and Gandhidham :- These cities have also suffered in the earthquake but there was no information on the newsmedia or T.V. for 1st 4/5 days and no help came from Govt, for these days as if these cities are not on Indian map! These cities which were founded by Bhai Pratap for Sindhi refugees after partition of the country half a Century back, have again been uprooted as if second partition has taken place for the inhabitants. Over 1200 people have died, more than that injured, great number of buildings have collapsed partly or fully & thousands have become homeless in these cities. However the number of casualties and properties destroyed is more in Gandhidham as compared to Adipur. In the hostel of Tolani Foundation, 35 students and Teachers have died on the spot during Republic Day celebrations. We met important personalities like Shri Lakhmi Khilani & Pritam Variani (Sindhology), Mrs. Nirmala Gajwani (Chair person S.R.C.), Mrs. Vishni Israni (Ex-President Gandhidham Municipality) & Shri Hari Atmaram (Gen. Secretary, Bharatiya Sindhu Sabha & Sindhu Varsha Foundation) with whose help the material brought by us could be distributed.
BHUJ TALUKA :- Here total 170 villages are affected. In all 35000 families are affected in Taluka & 25000 families in city area. Old city is worst affected whereas new areas of city are partly saved including Jhulelal Society. RSS/ VHP have opened relief centres in 71 villages in BHUJ Taluka & 34 centres in the city. They also started relief centres at Bachau, Rapar, Anjaar, etc. They feed 12000 persons daily with 400 volunteers irrespective of community, creed, colour or religion.
ANJAAR :- Here the number of casualties is 4000 and that of injured is 2000 in the total population of 1,00,000. Nearly 3000 houses have collapsed fully and 9000 partly. RSS/VHP feed 2500 persons daily. They have employed 100 doctors for medical help.
BHACHAU :- This is the worst affected Area. The city looks like a dead one, like Mohenjo Daro of Sindh. RSS/VHP Volunteers are feeding 5,000 persons daily. They have employed 58 skilled doctors. In Rapar alone almost 90% people and in Dudhai 6000 people have died and all 1200 houses collapsed. In Morbi, 50 houses of Sindhis have been destroyed. Other affected areas are Surendar Nagar, Vankaner, Mandvi, etc.
Likewise faraway places like Surat, Maninagar, and Ahmedabad, etc. are not spared by nature, In Maninagar, Ahmedabad, 18 buildings have collapsed & 25 sindhis died. In proper Ahmedabad 50 sindhis have died and so many of them have become homeless.
The Non -Govt, organisations have been doing marvelous yeoman services without distinction of caste, creed, colour or religion as compared to the Govt. help. These organisations are as under :
R.S.S. , V.H.P., Ramakrishna Mission, Sai Samiti of Satya Saibaba, Yog Vedant Seva Samiti of Sant Sri. Asharamji, Premprakash Ashram of Swami Teooramji, Chinmaya Mission, Red Cross, Vishwa Jagruty Mission of Acharya Sudhanshuji Maharaj, Sindhu Varsha Foundation, Bharitya Sindhu Sabha, Brahmakumaris, Kutch Yuvak Sangh, Swaminarayan Mandir, Arya Samaj, various Sindhi organisations from Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Moreover Sadhu Vaswani Mission in collaboration with Divine Life Society Hospital (Adipur) have opened a temporary Hospital in Garden Restaurant at Adipur (Gandhidham). Some foreigners from Denmark and other places with ultramodern medical equipment for operations have opened temporary Hospitals in tents on Radhaswamy plot in Gandhdham. Hinduja Foundation has announced a donation of Rs. 5 Crores for relief and rehabilitation of affected areas. Likewise Sikhs, Godriwala Sant of Jalgaon, Sai Hirdaram of Bairagadh (Bhopal) etc. are helping a lot.
V.H.P. / R.S.S have arranged 20000 part time and 3000 full time workers in whole of Gujrat affected areas for relief and rehabilitation. They have distributed 950 trucks of relief materials among the people such as 103,000 Kambals, 31000 big tents, 81500 Big Cartons of medicines, 10215 meters tarpolin, 80400 litres of milk, 3 lakh litres of water bottles and pouches, 46000 Kg. of Rice, 32000 Kgs of Dal, 37455 Kgs. Wheat flour, etc. They have opened 9 centres (4 in Bhuj,2 in Ahmedabad and one each in Bhachau, Anjar and Surendranagar). In all 23325 persons have been treated in their hospitals. They have started 9 centres of “Bhojanalayas” where 10000 persons are fed in each centre. They have also started new schemes for rehabilitation of the masses such as "Vatsalaya Mandirs" (where free books and stationery is supplied to students), Parivar Datak (adoption of a family) and Gram Datak (adoption of a village). These figures are collected upto 6-2-01. Further activities are in progress. Likewise, other above stated organizations are working with their own programme and in collaboration with one and other.
The following materials are needed urgently :- Utensils, Cement, readymade clothes, Food grains, such as wheat, flour, rice, moong dal, sugar, tea, salt etc., Blankets, medicines, tents, batteries, etc. The houses with small cracks are to be repaired. Other houses which are not safe are to be removed and new ones (small houses) to be constructed at their place with 50% Govt. loan interest free for a period of 6 years.
Life is like a bubble and it is struggle for survival. Nothing is certain in this ever changing world except the law of change. It is therefore everyone's duty to help these affected persons in all respects so that they can start a new life and stand on their own legs. More help is needed particularly in Adipur & Gandhidhan where sufficient help has not reached so far as compared to other affected areas. We appeal to NRI & Other philanthrophist Sindhis to come forward and adopt these cities / Villages on the lines as some of the other affected villages have been adopted by others. Let us remain as good human beings and pray to Almighty God to keep all human beings safe and happy.