Within the framework of the UN Consolidated Appeals Process, UN-HABITAT today called a donor consultation to raise funds for shelter recovery to aid those who have been evicted from their homes in Zimbabwe and the survivors of the Pakistani earthquake.
The President of the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT, the Polish Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Wojciech Jasinski, together with the Chair of UN-HABITAT’s Committee of Permanent Representatives, H.E. Petr Kopriva, Ambassador from the Czech Republic to Kenya symbolically kick-started the consultation by pledging personal funds to build houses in these two countries.
“As confirmed by my colleague, Mr. Jan Egeland, the UN Humanitarian and Relief Coordinator, after his recent trip to Zimbabwe, there is an urgent need to stabilize the shelter conditions of the poor people who were evicted and who have now been living out in the cold and in the open for almost 6 months,” said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka at the opening of the consultation.
Mrs. Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the UN, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Human Settlements Issues to Zimbabwe and the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, the agency within the UN charged with shelter and human settlements management, went onto emphasise that “There is also a desperate need to meet the shelter demands of those affected by the earthquake in Pakistan especially now that winter has set in.”
In Pakistan, where on 8 October 2005 an earthquake, claimed at least 73,000 lives and rendered more than three million people homeless, destroying almost 80 percent of homes and public buildings, UN-HABITAT has proposals for three support programme. These were prepared within the framework of the UN’s Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan which was launched in Islamabad at the Donor’s Conference in November by President Musharaff.
The first proposal is for an emergency shelter programme based on a special winterised shelter designed by UN-HABITAT that incorporates earthquake resistant techniques and whose materials can be reused in the construction of permanent housing in the spring. The aim of the initial phase is to build about 4,000 units, benefiting about 28,000 people, at a cost of US $ 2,000,000.
The second is for technical and policy support to the Government of Pakistan’s Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA), to formulate policies and guidelines related to earthquake resistant shelter and building reconstruction, town planning, housing and property rights and which includes training of local personnel. This will need an initial requirement of US $ 600,000.
The third is for a larger participatory self-help rural shelter reconstruction programme designed to work within the financial aid packages being offered to survivors by the Government of Pakistan. This is estimated to require US $ 15,000,000 and will directly benefit 63,000 people.
In Zimbabwe, UN-HABITAT is seeking funding of a shelter programme that was developed in line with the Consolidated Appeal for 2006 made by the UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Jan Egeland. The Government of Zimbabwe has given approval to the United Nations to implement a shelter programme starting with the building of 2,500 units, benefiting at least 12,500 people, that will require an initial commitment of US $ 4,000,000.
UN-HABITAT has assisted the UN Country team to design an innovative cost-effective shelter at Hopley Farm on land provided by the Government. Now approved by the Government of Zimbabwe, the demonstration structure uses local materials, while the construction process is simple enough to allow the beneficiaries to participate in the building. Moreover, it is designed so that the materials can be reused when families are in a position to build more permanent accommodation.
The proposed structures will be constructed on plots, or stands as they are known in Zimbabwe, provided by the Government as a way of ensuring that the urban poor have secure tenure. Civil society organizations will be involved in determining that the beneficiaries are those target groups that are in urgent need of shelter. The provision of such shelter will not only facilitate in resolving the humanitarian crisis caused by operation Murambatsvina that led to large numbers of people still living in the open or in transition shelters it will also be critical in the distribution of other humanitarian assistance, including providing for the chronically sick and those with HIV/AIDs.
At the donor consultation, in response to a query from the honourable representative of South Africa, Mrs. Tibaijuka informed those present that both financial support and in kind support, for example in the form of building materials, would be more than welcome.