January 27, 2001
volume 12, no. 27

Earthquake affects parts of India, Pakistan

    NEW DELHI, Jan. 26, 01 ( - An earthquake measuring nearly 7 points on the Richter scale hit parts of India at 8.50 am local time on Friday. According to the first news reports, nearly 500 people are so far believed to be dead but the number could rise as many people still remain buried under rubble.

    Indian Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani said that the death figure could be 1,000 or more. The deaths and most damage took place in the western state of Gujarat. There is also a fear that there might be more tremors and authorities have advised people to be alert and keep watch.

    The epicenter of the earthquake was Bhuj and the worst affected area is that of Kutch, both in Gujarat. The tremors of the quake were felt as far as Delhi and Bengal in the north and eastern part of India.

    Father Walter of St. Joseph's seminary in Ahmedabad, the capital of the state and the commercial city of Gujarat, speaking to Father Dominic Emmanuel, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, said, "There is no news of any serious damage to any of our Catholic churches, nor any incidence of death of Church personnel so far. There have been, however, cracks seen in many Church buildings."

    Following the earthquake, telephone and electricity lines have been badly affected and the Bishop's House in the city of Ahmedabad could not be contacted.

    The earthquake came as India was celebrating its 51st anniversary of the founding of the Republic with a grand military and cultural show in New Delhi in the presence of most important political leaders.

    Meanwhile, Caritas International has launched an emergency appeal to help Caritas India provide aid to earthquake victims. From its headquarters in Vatican City, Caritas International has appealed to its network for $1,000,000 to help Caritas India meet the immediate needs of those affected.

    Caritas India is the official national organization of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India for relief and development work. Operational since 1962, its headquarters are in New Delhi and there are 120 branch organizations active in every diocese in India.

    The Caritas Confederation is one of the world's largest humanitarian networks. Its 154 relief, development, and social service organizations are present in 198 countries and territories.

January 27, 2001
volume 12, no. 27
News from the Universal Church
Return to Today's Issue