Maharashtra: Killari quake's survivors tell tales of trauma


26 Sep 2018

September 30, 'black day' in lives of Maharashtra quake survivors

Every year, residents of Killari village in Maharashtra's Latur district observe "black day" on September 30.

This was the day when a devastating earthquake struck Latur-Osmanabad region 25 years ago, killing around 10,000 people and injuring several others.

Although much time has passed, people are still coming to terms with life and some are even waiting for compensation for damages suffered in the disaster.


A farm laborer lost family members, including son in quake

A farm laborer lost family members, including son in quake

The tragedy dealt a double blow to farm laborer Tanaji Suryavanshi, who not only lost several family members, including 10-year-old son but also had to part with his 6.5-acre farm which was taken away by the government for re-settling survivors.

Suryavanshi, who is in his 50s and lives with his wife and 13-year-old son, said he never got financial compensation or an alternate land.

Killari shuts down on September 30 to mark tragedy's anniversary

Suryavanshi, who now lives in a tin-roofed hut, is also debt-ridden since he borrowed money for his daughter's marriage. "September 30 is a 'black day' for Killari and the entire village shuts down that day to mark the anniversary of the tragedy," he said.

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The Tragedy

Rushed home, found my stone-made house reduced to rubble: Suryavanshi

Recalling the tragedy, Suryavanshi said, "I was at the Ganesh visarjan (immersion) procession when the quake struck. I rushed home immediately only to find my stone-made house reduced to rubble."

He managed to pull out his wife, mother, and brother from the debris, but his father, 10-year-old son, his brother's three children, and sister-in-law succumbed to their injuries on the spot.

During every Ganesh festival, villagers recall horror, still feel fear

"My mother and brother died later. My wife received head injuries and is surviving on medication," Suryavanshi said. His wife Savita gets teary-eyed whenever she remembers their dead son. Suryavanshi said during every Ganesh festival, villagers recall the horror and still fear for their lives.

No justice

Suryavanshi moved court for compensation, did not get justice

Suryavanshi moved court for compensation, did not get justice

Suryavanshi said over the last 25 years, he has made several trips to the State Relief and Rehabilitation Department to pursue his demand for compensation as a quake survivor.

"I moved court as well but have not got justice (yet). The hope for justice and giving a better life to my son is the only reason I am pulling along," he said.

Another victim

Another villager says they lived in transit camps for 3yrs

Another Killari resident Prashant Harangule, 51, whose house was damaged and family members injured in the tragedy, recalls experiencing tremors every 5 minutes after the quake.

"When the rumor spread about Terna dam having burst due to the quake, many of the survivors fled in panic. We had to live in a transit camp for around three years," he said.

Harangule got bank loan to set up grocery shop

Harangule said he got a bank loan of Rs. 22,000 to set up a grocery shop. "Many survivors did not get compensation to re-set their units but banks stepped in to help. The crisis taught us to face hurdles successfully and win," he said.

The horror

Tremors were felt from October 1992 till June 1993

Tremors were felt from October 1992 till June 1993

Killari's Deputy Sarpanch Ashok Potdar said tremors were felt in the area from October 1992 till June 1993.

"Locals would hear sound like that of blast. There was an atmosphere of fear. A team of scientists and geologists had visited the place and told us that an earthquake is unlikely, but locals left their homes and went to stay in open fields," he recalled.

Natural disaster

Locals returned to their homes, quake struck again: Potdar

Senior Congress leader Shivraj Patil, the then Lok Sabha member from Latur, appealed to people to return to their homes, Potdar said.

He said authorities told them of precautions to be taken and locals returned to their homes in June 1993 and later, the quake struck in September that year.

Madhukar Chavan, five-term Congress MLA from Tuljapur, also bore the brunt of the quake.

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Natural Disasters

Congress MLA

Lok Sabha

Another Killari

Deputy Sarpanch Ashok Potdar

Killari village

Madhukar Chavan

Prashant Harangule

Rehabilitation Department

Sarpanch Ashok Potdar

Senior Congress

Shivraj Patil

State Relief

State Relief and Rehabilitation Department

Tanaji Suryavanshi

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