NICEE Looks Back at the 2001 Bhuj (Gujarat) Earthquake
on 20th Anniversary

Slide show recalling the aftermath of the Bhuj Earthquake

Today is the 20th anniversary of the deadly 2001 Bhuj (Gujarat) earthquake that struck in the morning amidst the Republic Day celebrations that left ~ 13,800 dead, and ~1,67,000 injured. The event was especially tragic at least for the two heartbreaking incidents. Over 184 school children and 18 teachers lost their lives during the parade on the streets of Anjar district (50 km from Bhuj) and over 170 persons including patients, expectant mothers, their relatives, nurses, and support staff were killed when the two-storey Bhuj General Hospital collapsed.

It was also among the most costly of the damaging earthquakes that caused the economic setback to the tune of about Rs. 22,000 crores. Over 2.3 lacs small masonry houses collapsed and another ~1 lac were damaged. In addition, several hundred Reinforced Concrete (RC) frame buildings collapsed. The most unexpected structural performance was in the city of Ahmedabad, ~200 km away from the epicenter, where over 130 multi-storeyed RC frame buildings collapsed. In addition, there were numerous failures of elevated water tanks, bridges, waterfront, and industrial structures.

Such unsatisfactory performance of built environment highlighted the seismic vulnerability of the modern civil infrastructure of Indian urban centers, and the serious threats they pose to human lives and property in the event of extreme seismic events. Most notably, the earthquake event also brought focus on extremely poor non-compliance of seismic building codes in the country.

The Bhuj earthquake however tragic and terrible was, it led to many positive changes towards enhancing seismic safety in the state of Gujarat and in the country. The reconstruction and rehabilitation program that followed the event was widely applauded. Many programs and activities were taken to educate about earthquakes and earthquake-resistant construction (such as Earthquake Tips) and earthquake engineering education (such as National Program on Earthquake Engineering), development of model building codes (such as IITK-GSDMA Codes), and appropriate building technology for new construction (such as Confined Masonry).

Pls visit the following pages at NICEE’s website for more information:

Durgesh C Rai
National Information Center of Earthquake Engineering (NICEE)
IIT Kanpur