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Science popularisation amongst children in earthquake affected areas of kutch through low-cost science

Abhay R Kothari   Manthan Educational Programme Society, India

Kathan Kothari   National Institute of Design, India

January 26, 2000 is a date which will remain etched in the minds of the people of Gujarat for years to come. For, this was the day when a devastating earthquake ripped through parts of Gujarat and created havoc. The earthquake measuring 6.8 on the “Richter’s Scale” resulted in around 10,000 casualties and left thousands of others injured and disabled for life. Moreover, there was a terrific toll on wealth and property too. All major cities of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Surat, Rajkot, Surendranagar, Jamnagar, Banaskantha, etc were affected.

The people were traumatized and stalked with fear due to their lack of knowledge about the scientific basis of an earthquake. For them, this was God’s way of punishing them for some unknown sacrilege that they might have committed. It was difficult to educate the illiterate folk of Gujarat in the midst of belief in superstition and black magic.

The effect of such disasters on children was the strongest since they were not able to understand and interpret the happenings around them easily and also developed a lot of irrational fears in the absence of proper guidance.

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