The 26th of January 2001 was the worst Republic day of Independent Republic of India ever. The 52nd Republic day will continue to haunt the tragic memory of Gujarat earthquake.
On this day at round 8.40 a.m. IST, a giant earthquake measuring between whopping 7.6 and 7.7 on Richter Scale hit the Kutch District of Gujarat. The earthquake was also felt at the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Nepal. The epi-centre of the earthquake was at Gujarat state and was the worst affected. This was the worst earthquake in the last 40 years. It killed more than 20,000 people.
The following are the major information relating to Jan. 26, 2001 earthquake in Gujarat:
- The Richter scale earthquake measured the magnitude of the quake between 7.6 and 7.7.
- The most devastation earthquake in the last 150 years.
- Maximum number of death and damage was at Bhuj, which was the epi-centre of earthquake.
- Even one day after the earthquake no definite figure on the number could be given.
- Initial figure of death was at 500, which increased to 4000 the next day and is likely to increase much more. Four days the figure went above 20000.
- Kandla port was damaged and large quantity of oil was reported to spill in the ocean.
- Although the entire state of Gujarat was affected, maximum damage has been reported from Bhuj and the region around Bhuj, Ahmedabad, Kutch and Bhachau regions.
- Telecommunication like of Gujarat was cut off from the rest of the country.
- The Bhuj Civil hospital was completely damaged.
- Relief and rescue operations were rushed in but were found to be severely inadequate.
- More than 4 lakh houses had been destroyed.
- Cracks have developed in Sabarmati Bridge in Ahmedabad.
- Centre had agreed to provide assistance.
- Some of the important structures damaged in the earthquake including Wankaner Palace, Central Palace of Darbargadh in Rajkot.
- Relief measures had poured in from the Central Government and several state governments. Special trains free of cost had been announced for Gujarat.
The earthquake has highlighted the fact that although help and relief measures were adequate, there was lack of co-ordination and confusion in rendering help.
Amongst some of the heart rending tragedies are the collapses of several schools in which more than 50 students children perished.
The Gujarat earthquake had once again united the country and the people of India. The NGO’s and various other agencies had poured in assistance in whatever from possible. A comprehensive building design and planning in context of earthquake needs to be addressed in India.