Saturday, January 27, 2001

Indians in Greater Cincinnati hope, pray for relatives' safety

By Patrick Stack
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        At 5 a.m. Friday, Dr. Hardas Rathod awoke to a phone call from his brother in Gujarat state, India.

        It was the first time Dr. Rathod, a native of Gujarat and a retired doctor living in Indian Hill, heard of the major earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people and reduced buildings in his native state to rubble.

        Fortunately, his brother Naran told Dr. Rathod, 58, that both Naran and his other brother, Kanji, were unhurt, as were their families.

Most recent undates about India earthquake from The Associated Press.
        “It's a great relief, but still it's very sad news,” Dr. Rathod said. “I'm sure a lot of lives must have been affected.”

        After the 7.9-magnitude earthquake, members of Cincinnati's Indian community are waiting for good news and praying for victims of the quake.

        Between 200 and 300 Indian families in Greater Cincinnati are from Gujarat or of Gujarati descent, said Vi nod Rawal, former president of Ankur Gujarati Samaj, a Gujarati association in Cincinnati. Many still have family living in Gujarat.

        Dr. Rathod's wife, Asha, is among them. She was returning from visiting their older son in Cleveland on Friday, and the Rathods have not yet heard from her family, Dr. Rathod said.

        “Hopefully they are far away (from the epicenter) and safe,” he said.

        Mr. Rawal, 50, also originally from Gujarat and now living in West Chester Township, had not heard from his or his wife's families in Gujarat by Friday afternoon. He could not reach them by phone or computer.

        “I've been trying to get information through the Internet,” he said.

        To aid the victims, the Hindu Temple on Klatte Road in Clermont County's Union Township will hold a relief collection and say special prayers during services Sunday, said Madhu Sharma, chair for religious activities at the temple.


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