Mild quakes bring fearful memories to Gujarat

Ahmedabad(IANS) : A 70-year-old woman in Junagadh district of Gujarat died in a house collapse following two mild earthquakes as terrified people relived the January 2001 earthquake in their minds.

A quake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale struck Junagadh, Amreli and Ahmedabad districts at 5.57 a.m. Tuesday. It was followed by a second tremor of 4.9 magnitude at 3.08 p.m.

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The epicentres of both quakes were in the nearby Sasangir forest. According to the Indian Metrological Department’s (IMD) classification of earthquakes, Tuesday’s tremors were of ‘slight’ intensity.

Aswini Kumar, the collector of Junagadh, told IANS: “There was no damage to life and property in the first tremor but a woman in Hiranwel village of Talala taluka was buried under the debris of her house, which collapsed after the second tremor. The few who were injured went back home after treatment.”

He said people of the village were taken to a temporary shelter and offered food but the people insisted they would manage on their own. In all, 80 houses were damaged.

There were no reports of any injuries or damage to property in Ahmedabad and Amreli districts, officials said.

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastated Gujarat on Jan 26, 2001. More than 12,000 people were killed in the quake while about 150,000 were inured. Over a million structures, including historic buildings and tourist attractions, were damaged or destroyed. The total loss due to damage to property was estimated at $5.5 billion.

In the IMD’s seismic map of India drawn up on the basis of susceptibility to severe earthquakes, Gujarat is placed both in Zone III and Zone IV. The Saurashtra-Kutch region of Gujarat, which encompasses Junagadh, Amreli, Porbandar, and Kutch districts figures in Zone IV, which is considered one notch less risky than Zone V where earthquakes of magnitude over eight could occur.