This documents provides a description of the activities and observations of a field trip to observe damage caused by the January 26, 2001, Bhuj earthquake. The mission of the trip was to investigate the Gujarat earthquake catastrophe from several angles including, but not limited to, engineering, rebuilding and reconstruction, social, economic, political, organizational, and disaster management perspectives, and identify: factors leading to the catastrophe, and ways to mitigate it. The investigation addressed technical, disaster management, and social issues. Observations indicate that if properly designed for earthquake loads and constructed, most buildings would have been able to withstand the earthquake forces with minimum loss of life and property. Although knowledge about earthquake resistant design does exist in top academic institutions, it has not been practiced professionally. In addition, Indian codes provide recommendations rather than requirements for earthquake-resistant design. This, coupled with lack of proper inspection during construction, adds to the vulnerability of structures to resist earthquakes.
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