Tomorrow will mark seventeen years since an earthquake devastated the state of Gujrat (g uu – j uh – r ah t) in Northwestern India. Measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale, the violent shaking of the earth lasted for over two minutes. More the 12,800 people were killed and at least 167,000 more injured.

Many cities were totally destroyed. In Anjar, 143 students and teachers, who were participating in the Republic Day parade, were killed when building on both sides of the street collapsed. An 81-story high rise in Ahmedabad collapsed, killing 753 occupants.

Several investigations uncovered the bypassing of the construction standards and laws; which contributed to loss of life and number of injuries.A 2001 India Today article entitled “Ans Greed Hits Home” claimed that more than anything, it was corruption that killed more people.

A formal after-action report by the National Centre for Disaster Management under the Indian Institute for Public Administration called the quake a “national wake up call” to introspect upon the state of disaster preparedness for the country and urges disaster preparedness be integrated into the community development.

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