On November 13, 2016, while most Indians were busy exchanging their old notes at the banks, in another part of the world, New Zealand was rocked by an earthquake of magnitude of about 7.5 on Richter scale. About 232 aftershocks of the event were recorded in the country by GeoNet, leaving thousands of people stranded near the epicenter.
It brought back haunting memories of what happened in Gujarat back in 2001 and once again raised the question: Are we ready for such disasters?
What Happened in Gujarat?
While the whole nation prepared to celebrate its 52nd Republic Day, Gujarat was shaken awake to one of the worst disasters in the history of India. On the morning of January 26, 2001, an earthquake of magnitude of around 7.9 hit this western state at 8:46 am.
It was a result of the Indian plate pushing towards the Eurasian plate in the North. Although the quake lasted for only two minutes, it claimed over 18,000 lives and 167,000 people were left injured.
The Destruction Caused
- Out of the 25 districts of the state, 21 were completely destroyed.
- Kutch was the most affected area and reported around 17,000 deaths.
- 7,065 children and 9,110 women were reported dead.
- Around 348 orphans and 826 widows were registered. While some were protected with life or term insurance, many were left financially crippled.
- The collective economic loss was around Rs. 99 billion.
- Out of those who were injured, a vast majority was left handicapped.
- Around 8,000 villages were affected and more than 3,000 health facilities were destroyed.
- Over 12 million houses were damaged, leaving thousands
of people homeless.
It took years for Gujarat to recover from the disaster. The Gujarat Model of Development was formed to help the health, educational and industrial sectors reach new heights. About 300 international and 150 local NGOs were involved in providing assistance. Financially too, millions of dollars were used to make things normal again. Immediate relief of Rs. 500 crores was announced by the NCCF.
What transpired in New Zealand has once again underlined the importance of better future planning. Today, Gujarat stands strong but policies like term insurance and life insurance are the need of the hour to protect the financial future of your family.
To get these services is easier than it was ever before. Many banks these days also provide instant loans that can be used in times of crisis as well.