Kutch is a remote region in the arid borderlands of north-west India. For centuries life was brutally tough – rains often failed, there were few jobs and the enterprising would emigrate.
Then in January 2001, a magnitude seven earthquake struck, devastating a huge area, flattening cities including the district capital, Bhuj, and wrecking over 8,000 villages. Twenty thousand people were killed and more than a million others made homeless. Those who witnessed the devastation at the time must have thought this would set back development by decades.
There was an outpouring of sympathy from around the world, much of it from Gujaratis living abroad. Some $130m (£80m) of aid poured in. The Indian government was spurred into focusing on this much-ignored region in a way had never done before. The army was sent in to help with the emergency and $2bn of reconstruction money was allocated to the region. Contrary to what many feared, aid and government grants were put to good use. In the first two years after the quake, nearly all the damaged villages were rebuilt.
Recently, I had visited the ‘Bhuj City’ for 2 days as part of my annual family vacation, in the month of December 2015. There is no trace of damage caused by the earthquake of 2001. The city is totally rebuilt well and is modern as told to me by the residents I met.
But, I can recall very well, the tremors felt by me at my residence at Thane, situated very away from the epicenter in Bhuj, Gujarat .. on the early morning of 26th January, 2001 . It was a devastating earthquake ( with Richter scale 7.9) .. and I could feel the tremors in my drawing room where I was seated ..
I am attaching this video developed by BBC News – for more information to the readers.
(Article source: BBC News)