3 -- Reaction
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Early in the morning on the 26th of January (Indian Time), an earthquake hit Gujarat. The earthquake was so massive that it measured 7.9 on the Richter scale. The earthquake affected western and central India. Due to this horrible event, many people died and most of Gujarat was ruined.
As other places have been helping India recover from this tragic earthquake, India's government has also been providing assisstance. India's government has been putting various relief funds together, involving commercial entities, helping to pay for the buildings that were destroyed and much more.
When the earthquake occurred Air India immediately delivered shipments of various useful items to Ahmedabad free of charge. They shipped clothes, blankets, bed sheets, medical and surgical supplies, etc. The government has changed their policies of foreign funds.
They established a new account through which they will be able to accept all major currencies including dollars, pounds, francs, etc. directly to Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund, C/O Gujarat Divya Jivan Sangh. This will enable them to accept any personal check from anywhere in the world.
destruction near the epicenter in Bhuj
India's government has an Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS). The Government has decided to restructure the EAS that would continue as the single wage-employment program to be implemented at the district/block levels throughout the country. The funds to the States would be allocated in accordance with the criteria to be decided by the Government/National Development Council from time to time, and to the districts on an index of backwardness. 70% of the funds flowing to the districts would be allocated to the blocks and 30% reserved for at the district level to be utilized in the areas of distress. Selection of the works under the scheme would be decided by the Zilla Parishads.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (center)
surveys the damage in Gujarat
Due to the loss of so many houses the government has decided to make a plan for the next several years. Government have announced a National Housing and Habitat Policy which aims at providing "Housing For All" and facilitating construction of 20 additional housing units annually with an emphasis on extending benefits to the poor and the deprived. Of these, 13 additional houses are to be constructed in the rural areas. A new credit/subsidy scheme for rural housing, equity support to the HUDCO, setting up of Rural Building Centers, and introducing of Samagra Awas Yojana on pilot basis in one block each of 25 districts in 24 States and one UT, to ensure integrated provision of shelter, drinking water and sanitation. A National Mission for Rural Housing and Habitat has also been set up.
When the Ellis 8th graders visited the Indian embassy in Washington we learned much about the earthquake in Gujarat. We learned about all the people who suffered. One question was, "How is the Indian government helping out with this massive earthquake destruction?" The answer was that they have been putting funds together and helping pay for the destruction that was caused by the sudden earthquake.
India was hit suddenly by this earthquake, but India's government helped at the time and is still helping with the process of putting Gujarat back together. The Indian government has been a big help in Gujarat and they will be until the end.
Building Codes Enforcement
The earthquake's epicenter was in Bhuj, the most westernized and technologically advanced city in all of India. Not only were over 20,000 people killed during the thirty seconds in which this earthquake that hit 7.9 on the richter scale occurred, but those who survived had to face the destruction and now rebuilding of their homes, their places of worship, and their schools. This destruction could have been prevented. It is a tragedy that the buildings in this heavily populated area fell because these buildings could have been built so that they were more stable; however, some of the building contractors became greedy and did not build the buildings that fell up to the regulations that should have been enforced more strictly in the first place by the Indian government. Even though this earthquake has already occured, and can obviously no longer be prevented, the Indian government realizes that it must acknoledge the severeness of not being prepared for an earthquake and enforce building codes more strictly in the future.
Just as we do in America, the Indian government plans to enforce strict building codes on the contractors in the future. It was the vicious cycle of the contractors' wanting to gain financially, that ultimately caused the torturous deaths of the people that were trapped under the rubble. Enforcing these building codes is an essential step in improving the living conditions for the people of India.
Already four billion dollars have been spent in reconstruction of buildings and phycilities such as water supply within the one thousand, five hundred mile radius of destruction spreading from the epicenter of Bhuj. This earthquake caused the Indian government to take responsibility for the lives of their citizens, which will make for a better and safer life for these people in the future.
On January 26, at about 8:46 AM India time, an earthquake measureing 7.9 on the richter scale hit Gujarat, India. Sadly, The Government of India (GOI) places the death toll at 7,181 and the injuries at 29,685. There are more than 200,00 homeless. Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh were also affected.
Many people are contributing to the cause of earthquake relief.
The American Friends Service Committee is collecting contributions
Jesse Helms, chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
is leading12 senators, from the Republican and Democratic parties.
They've made a strong case reaching out to the affected population.
They have announced an assistance of $9 million through USAID.
The American Red Cross is going to spend $1 million on the emergency
relief operantions, So far they've spent $604,260 and they're
getting $400,000 worth of initial assistance. They're providing
assistance such as the following:
|- An immediate $25,000to the Indian Red Cross
Society to help get the relief operations started
- $140,000 for the local relief supplies such as 200 rolls ofplastic sheeting/tarps, 5,000 blankets, watercontainers, etc. These are being distribute in Bhuj
- $419,260 for additioinal relief supplies
- Placement of an eleven personInternation Response Team, it is self-sufficient and is what is behinded the American Red Cross response.
- American Red Cross is joining other field peronnel from Red Cresent Movement to help Indian Red Cross to help reconnect victims with they're family and loved ones
- Sending two mental health experts to corrdinate free activities. These are made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.
- The American Friends Service Committee (AFCS) is collecting funds and aiding the injured. This will include, distributin food, water, medicine, etc. They are remoing rubble and cremating the dead.
In Bhuj, Gujarat, three members of the United Nations Disaster and Coordination Team (UNDAC), and a health specialist have travelled to areas around the city to help the situation and the needs of the affected areas. It is slowly beginning to come back together, as food and medical supplies are reaching far off villages. UNDAC is supporting the government and is providing them with feedback, Yet many people are wondering what the Indian government is doing to make sure that this kind of destruction doesn't occure again.
The Indain government is re-enforcing stricter building codes. Before the eartthquake, they had laws about how sturdy the houses had to be, but the builders were too lazy to meet the requirments; so when the quake hit there was extra destruction. Now, it is very important that that builders meet the requirements, the government will also be keeping a closer watch. They are also now building earthquake shelters, and there are several different models.
On January 26, 2001, India was hit with a massive earthquake. It measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale and was centered in Bhuj in Gujarat. According to news reports, over 20,000 were killed, and 200,000 were injured. Villages and cities were destroyed, leaving the victims homeless and without basic sanitation, food, or water. Thankfully, many have come to their aid. Countries all over the world have provided assistance to India in order to help them get through this crisis.
One country that has helped India is Italy. The Italian Episcopalian
Conference intends to donate 1.4 million dollars to help the victims
of the earthquake. Also, the Italian government announced that
it will give 2.3 million dollars.
Another country providing assistance to India is Singapore. This nation sent a sixteen-member Air Force team with relief supplies such as tents, groundsheets, and blankets to Bhuj. The Singapore government also announced that it would give $50,000 in emergency supplies to India.
Hong Kong is another area helping India handle its crisis. Through OXFAM, an international relief organization, it has distributed hygiene kits to ten thousand families. OXFAM Hong Kong also arrived in Gujarat with water and sanitation equipment to provide clean water to over twenty thousand people. They are also working with the Gujarat State Water Supply Board in order to build latrines for more than 25,000 people. OXFAM Hong Kong is also giving out plastic sheeting for temporary shelter for 1,700 families and blankets to 1,500 families. They are also delivering utensils and cooking items to 5,000 families, as well as thirty days of rations to 5,000 families.
China and Taiwan are also helping the Indians by pledging $50,000
and sending a team of seismological experts, and sending a team
of sixty-four rescuers to look for buried survivors, respectively.
Australia has played a large part in helping the Indians after the earthquake. The Australian Government has given money to be used by selected non government organizations to provide drinking water, shelter and medicine to the victims of the earthquake. The government also gave 1.5 million Australian dollars to be divided among the Australian Red Cross, for temporary shelter materials; TEAR Australia, for safe drinking water, sanitation, medicine, and trauma counseling; and Community Aid Abroad, for food, water, and medical needs. Trauma counseling seems to be a large concern for the Indian government. While the medical needs of the survivors can be relatively easily met, the mental wounds cannot be healed as quickly. Hopefully, the trauma counseling provided by other countries will bring some of the survivors of the earthquake back to better mental health.
Another Australian relief effort comes from the Australian Cricket Establishment. The Cricket Board has donated $10,000 Australian dollars to start off a campaign intended to raise one million Australian dollars.
Another country assisting India is Canada. Prime Minister Mike Harris released a statement saying that Canada has worked to send donations and relief to India and will continue to do so.
Norway is another country providing help to India. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg presented a check for $300,000 to the UN Disaster Management Team in India, coordinated by UNDP. But that was just the beginning. So far, Norway has offered 1.1 million dollars worth of relief assistance.
India's neighbors are also helping the relief efforts. One of these countries is Bangladesh, who has sent 200,000 tons of food, as well as a twelve-member medical team. Another neighboring country assisting is India's arch foe, Pakistan. Pakistan flew in four planes carrying tents and blankets. Unfortunately, officials at the Indian Embassy say that this effort did not improve Indian-Pakistan relations.
Great Britain is also helping India. Prince Charles, the prince of Whales, intends to build 2,108 "quake proof" houses in Gujarat. These "quake-proof" houses would be more light-weight so that if they collapsed they would not injure people as severely, and would prevent many deaths. Britain is sending a team of sixty-nine specialists and four search dogs, as well as cars, trucks, translators, bottled water, unleaded fuel, and anti Malaria tablets. The British Red Cross has sent 47,000 blankets and Britain has pledged 4.4 million dollars to the India relief effort.
Turkey is also assisting in the India relief effort. Turkey sent a thirty-five person team, rescue equipment, and medicine.
> Switzerland is helping India by sending a forty-five person
team with sniffer dogs.
> Japan is also aiding India. Japan is sending .25 million dollars for relief and rescue operations and .75 million dollars to the Prime Minister Relief Fund.
> Germany is sending a team of twenty specialists, while
> Russia is sending a team of seventy-three specialists. The Slovak Republic, Republic of Korea, > > Hungary and Malaysia sent rescue teams and sniffer dogs to India.
> France is helping India by sending a forty-member medical team with medical equipment, and a nine-person rescue team with sniffer dogs.
> The Netherlands is offering assistance by pledging $420,000 in aid and support.
It is extremely heart-warming to see the way that the countries of the world stepped up to India's aid. Providing search rescues, food, shelter, clothing, sanitation, water, and support, countries throughout the world have helped India battle this crisis. Hopefully, India will continue to recover and will be able to better equip itself for future crises.