Earthquake in Bhuj, 2001
On January 26, 2001, India’s 53rd Republic Day, Bhuj in Gujarat woke up to the deadliest earthquake in the country’s recorded history. Nearly 20,000 died and over 155,000 were injured. The quake left 600,000 people homeless, with 348,000 houses destroyed and an additional 844,000 damaged. The Indian State Department estimated that the earthquake affected 15.9 million people – nearly 50 per cent of the population of Gujarat. Direct economic losses were over Rs 65 billion ($ 1.3 billion).
HOPE foundation worked primarily in Maliya village in Rajkot District which owing to its remote location received negligible relief. The village which had a population of about 12,000 people (around 2,000 families) lost 250 people, mostly women and children, to the earthquake. Most of their houses were destroyed. The villagers worked mainly as laborers and seasonal prawn cultivators. After the quake, daily earnings in the village dipped to Rs 15 ($0.3) from Rs 40 ($0.8).
- Door-to-door distribution of relief packets (containing raw dal and rice, biscuits, salt, water pouches, candles and matchboxes) to 250 families, with the help of the village headman.
- Shelter for the homeless using materials like bamboo and tarpaulin and construction of two community halls to shelter the people from the cold at night.
- Construction of 70 houses by professional tent makers for 70 families (with 4-6 members each); the Village Community Chairman provided amenities like electricity, water and toilets.
- A one-stop community service center for medical, education and other assistance.
- A computer school started in June 2001 which educated over 400 students in the next one year; a hundred among them had special needs. One of our students, Talib started earning Rs 10,000 ($225) after the course and was inspired to start his own computer center in Bhuj.
- A daycare center for children, which initially ran out of tents with three teachers and 200 children. Later, the center was moved to a rented accommodation and started running as a school. In October 2008, the school had 300 students enrolled in it. It has been recognized by the Government of Gujarat, and is upgraded every year.