WHEN THE EARTH SHOOK!
A bad dream
Help! Help! Save me! Aaahhh! Ooooww… There was screaming and shouting everywhere. The ground was shaking and people were running all around.
Screaming loudly I got up. On hearing me my mother also woke up. She came running and held me tight. It was the same bad dream! It has been more than six years now since the earthquake. But in my sleep I still feel the earth shaking and trembling.
I am Jasma. I live in the Kutch area of Gujarat. I was eleven years old when there was an earthquake. It was 26 January, 2001. Everyone from the village – children and old people – had gathered in the ground of the school to watch the parade on TV. Suddenly the ground was shaking. People were scared and started running here and there. No one knew what was happening and what to do. There was total panic!
In a few minutes, our village was flat on the ground. All our things – clothes, pots, grains and food – were trapped under the stones, mud and wood from the fallen houses. At that time everyone thought of two things – to save the people who were trapped and to treat the injured.
The village hospital was also damaged. Many people were seriously injured. My leg also got fractured. The doctor treated people with the help of the villagers.
Six people of our village died. My grandfather (Nana)was also buried under the houses. My mother wept all the time. Seeing my mother, I also cried. The entire village was sad and disturbed.
House of Motabapu who is the sarpanch of our village was not much damaged. He gave rice and wheat to everyone from his godown. For many days, the village women cooked food together at Motabapu’s house and fed everyone.
Imagine, being without a house in the cold winter! Fear and the cold kept us awake in the nights. All the time we were worried that there may be another earthquake.
For some days after that, people from the cities kept coming to see what had happened. They came with food, medicines and clothes. Everyone used to rush to take these things. The clothes that we got were very different. We had never worn such clothes before. People from different groups from the city, helped us to put up the tents. Staying in these plastic tents in the cold winter months was very difficult.
Some of these people were scientists. They tried to find out which areas have more chances of having an earthquake. People from our village talked to them many times.
They had suggestions about building our houses again. Engineers and architects showed us some special designs for houses. They said that with this design, houses would not get damaged much in an earthquake. But our people were a little afraid.
They thought if these people build our houses, our village will not look like our old village. So, the villagers thought they would build their own houses with their help. The groups would build the village school.
We all worked together to rebuild our village. Some people dug and brought the clay from the pond. We mixed the clay with cow dung and made large cakes.
We put these on one another to make the walls. We whitewashed the walls and decorated them with beautiful designs and small pieces of mirrors. We put up the thatched roof. Now our house shines like a diamond in the dark night!
Read this TV report on the Bhuj earthquake.
Ahmedabad, January 26, 2001 At least a thousand people are feared dead in the earthquake that struck Gujarat this morning. Many thousands have been injured. Army jawans have been called in to help.
At least a hundred and fifty buildings have fallen in the city of Ahmedabad. In these, there are a dozen multi-storeyed buildings. By this evening, around 250 bodies have been removed from these buildings. It is feared that several thousand people may still be trapped.
Rescue efforts are on. There is perhaps no building in the city which has not developed cracks.
The situation in Bhuj is even worse. People are running around in shock and panic. Within an hour of the earthquake the fire engines had reached and started work along with the local people. Offers to help are coming from all corners of the country and abroad.
If there is no rain, crops can fail and there can be a drought. But food for people can be brought from other places so that there is no famine, which means people don’t have to stay hungry, and they don’t die of hunger.