The powerful earthquake that struck the Kutch area in Gujarat at 8:46 am on 26 January 2001 has been the most damaging earthquake in the last five decades in India. The M7.9 quake caused a large loss of life and property. Over 18,600 persons are reported to be dead and over 167,000 injured; the number of deaths is expected to rise with more information coming in. The estimated economic loss due to this quake is placed at around Rs.22,000 Crores (~US$5 billions).
The earthquake was felt in most parts of the country and a large area sustained damages. About 20 districts in the state of Gujarat sustained damage. The entire Kutch region of Gujarat, enclosed on three sides by the Great Runn of Kutch, the Little Runn of Kutch and the Arabian Sea, sustained highest damage with maximum intensity of shaking as high as X on the MSK intensity scale. Several towns and large villages, like Bhuj, Anjaar, Vondh and Bhachau sustained widespread destruction. The other prominent failures in the Kutch region include extensive liquefaction, failure of several earth dams of up to about 20m height, damage to masonry arch and RC bridges, and failure of railroad and highway embankments. Numerous recently-built multistorey RC frame buildings collapsed in Gandhidham and Bhuj in the Kutch region, and in the more distant towns of Morbi ( ~125km east of Bhuj), Rajkot (~150km southeast of Bhuj) and Ahmedabad (~300km east of Bhuj). At least one multistorey building at Surat (~375km southeast of Bhuj) collapsed killing a large number of people.
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