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New tremors shake India quake town

NEW DELHI, India -- A new tremor rocked India's earthquake-hit Gujarat state late Thursday, sending terrified residents of the main city of Ahmedabad fleeing from buildings.

Life in the open for a quake couple
Life in the open for a quake couple  

The tremor registered 5.3, with its epicenter 12 miles northeast of the town of Bhachau, one of the worst hit by the January 26 earthquake of 7.7 on Richter scale.

Since the January earthquake, there have been at least five aftershocks strong enough to make thousands of people nervous about staying inside even undamaged houses, for fear of falling masonry.

After the January 26 earthquake, nearly 90 percent of Bhachau buildings were flattened, 30,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands made homeless.

Vipul Bhatt, taking calls on a government earthquake help line, said some people were weeping in the streets of Ahmedabad after running out of their houses Thursday evening.

Surviving amid rubble in Bhachau
Surviving amid rubble in Bhachau  

"They are still on the roads," Bhatt said by phone from Ahmedabad. But he said there had been no reports of damage.

Though aid from all over India and the world has been pouring into Gujarat, there have been complaints of poor coordination of relief operations and slow disbursement of assistance.

"Against a requirement of over 60,000 tents in and around Bhuj alone, we have so far received just a little over 3,500," said District Magistrate for the town of Bhuj, Anil Mukim.

Psychiatric help for survivors

To assist people to deal with the trauma of the January 26 earthquake -- and fear of continuing aftershocks -- the neighboring state of Maharashtra has offered to provide psychiatric training to doctors in Gujarat to teach them how to deal with earthquake survivors.

Maharashtra officials said they gained the expertise to deal with quake-related trauma after quakes left 10,000 dead in the state in September 1993. The U.S. Senate expressed sympathy for the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck western India and pledged support for U.S. aid flowing to the region.

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
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RELATED SITES:
Government of India
Information for relief work organization

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