The 2001 Gujarat earthquake, also known as the Bhuj earthquake, occurred on 26 January, India\’s 52nd Republic Day, at 08:46 AM IST and lasted for over 2 minutes. The epicenter was about 9 km southwest of the village of Chobari in Kutch District of Gujarat. The news of the devastating tragedy, one of the worst calamities ever to hit India, reached Amma while she was giving Darshan at Kodungallur, Kerala. Measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, the massive earthquake had pulverized buildings and levelled down entire villages in the city of Bhuj. Exact number of casualties and injured were unavailable initially but the horror was well evident from the scale of the disaster. Later, the death toll was estimated to be around 20,000.
The earthquake that hit Gujarat on January 26th, 2001 was one of the worst disasters in Indian history—thousands were killed and entire towns and villages were demolished. Amma immediately sent doctors, ambulances and other volunteers to the region. They set broken bones, performed surgeries, created shelters and in general cleaned up the carnage.
After the initial horror was quelled, many relief groups left the region. But the Mata Amritanandamayi Math stayed to completely rebuild three villages—constructing some 1200 earthquake-proof houses, medical clinics, water tanks, schools, community halls, temples and mosques.
These people had lost houses, businesses, families—everything. But they were not bitter. “For so long, God was giving us prosperity,” said one man. “Now He has destroyed it. But again there will be prosperity. He will not leave us in this condition.
Although the pain of losing loved ones fades much slower, within one year 6,500 inhabitants of three Kutch villages had new homes, their villages reconstructed by the Math
The villages Amma adopted—Modsar, Mokhana and Dagara—were located far away from the highways, about 40 km from the Pakistan border. The Math not only rebuilt 1200 houses, but also schools, community halls, water tanks, medical clinics, and roads, as well as provided electricity and sewage systems.
A year later Amma herself came to meet the villagers and hand over the houses built for them.