One of the deadliest earthquakes witnessed by the country, the Latur earthquake hit Maharashtra on September 30, 1993. The intraplate earthquake left 52 villages devastated killing around 10,000 people and leaving another 30,000 injured. Here are 7 facts about one of the most destructive earthquakes India ever had.
1. Killari was the epicenter of the earthquake and has a huge hollow created there, which still remains in place till date.
2. The earthquake primarily affected the districts of Latur and Osmanabad. Considering the number of districts affected by the tremors, the toll of those killed and injured was very high because Latur is a densely populated place. Since the tremors had hit around 3:56 a.m., villagers of Latur and surrounding areas had no warning and hence many of them were smashed to death under the remains of their own houses which collapsed in the shockwaves. The earthquake created so much havoc also because its hypocenter was relatively shallow, only 10 km deep resulting in more damage caused by the shockwaves.
3. Since the location of the tremors did not lie on a plate boundary, it is not certain as to what caused them. The existence of fault webs could be one reason, whereas according to another argument, the construction of a reservoir along the Terna was responsible for leading to fault lines.
4. Relief items and rescue workers were sent by many foreign and local donors as soon as the news about the earthquake hit the headlines. Foreign donors sent the first convoy of 120 trucks containing tents, blankets, food and clothing, medical supplies and temporary shelters. After the damage was estimated in numbers, reconstruction was offered by the World Bank for reconstruction of Latur.
5. Rescue work was immediately commenced by the Indian Army, State Reserve Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force and other law enforcement agencies as well. A little later, assistance of Rs. 46.55 lakh was provided to farmers and 299 persons were given cattle as they had lost theirs in the earthquake.
6. Amateur radio from Hyderabad and Mumbai were the first ones to respond to the news. They immediately rushed to Omerga, a small town near Latur from where all the earthquake affected areas were reachable by road. Mumbai-based JNA Wireless Association shouldered a special mission. Automobile company Mahindra and Mahindra have four-wheeled vehicles, especially for the purpose and supplies, were escorted from Mumbai to Omerga by a group of 8 Mumbai-based radio hams. The radio operators later split into four groups and visited several villages gathering and conveying crucial information such as the possible outbreak of disease, food supply, and devastation.
7. The National Disaster Management Authority was also set up only after the Latur earthquake.