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Chaos and disaster

A 10 storey building that has peeled away into four pieces has become an emblem of the terrible devastation wreaked in Bhuj by last month's earthquake.

The lower three floors of the Sahajanand Tower collapsed before the whole structure ruptured in the centre, sending each of the four blocks in different directions with one completely disintegrated.

Bhuj was once a buzzing commercial hub based on agricultural produce. Narrow streets in the old walled part of the city that is nearly 500 years old are now choked with huge chunks of masonry, a major problem for the earlier relief operation. Ruined shopping arcades and banks show vestiges of what was the commercial centre of one of Gujarat's wealthiest cities in a region that accounts for 11% of India's GNP.

On the campus of the Shree Ramji Ravji Lalan College, a mass of concrete debris has been cleared to make way for the tents of a Red Cross camp that will be operational for the next year. The 15 year old town hall complex is flattened apart from rows of seating from its auditorium.

In the nearby village of Sukhpur, which suffered 90% collapse, the seven floor tower of the Hindu temple is sticking out upside down on the main temple roof.

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