I wrote about the Gujarat Earthquake which occurred on January 26, 2001. Fun fact: that day was also India’s 52nd Independence Day anniversary. I had never heard about this event, I stumbled across it when searching for topics to write about.
The Gujarat quake was a 7.7 magnitude quake which occurred in the morning of January 26, and it lasted for over two minutes. The epicenter of the quake was only 24 km deep, so the seismic waves did not have much time to dissipate before the broke the surface. This quake was the second most devastating quake in all of India’s recorded history, with 20,000 left dead, over 150,000 left injured, and over 400,000 displaced or homeless. The quake was followed by over 400 aftershocks felt all over the Gujarat state, as well as the rest of the country of India. These aftershocks continued for up to two months after the quake. This specific quake was caused by the Indo-Australian plate subjecting beneath the Eurasian plate, also known as a thrust fault.
There was little to no preparation or mitigation for an earthquake of this size in the Gujarat state, which escalated the amount of damage. After the quake, buildings were found to have been lacking basic structural support, or didn’t meet the local building codes. Some engineers and building managers were found criminally negligent because of this, because of claims that more life could have been saved if the buildings were properly constructed.
Once the Indian government saw the magnitude of the destruction of the Gujarat state, relief aid was administered and help poured in. Once the general emergency phase was complete, the Government of Gujarat instated a new disaster management and preparation program. From this, The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority was created, and still remains to this day. The authority switched from a pro-disaster oriented intervention to a pro-active prevention, mitigation, and pre disaster preparedness. Citizens are now better aware of hazards that come with a potential earthquake, and even though a quake so large happening again in the Gujarat state is slim, it is important to be prepared for the worst.