A senior UN-HABITAT official in August visited Pakistan Administered Kashmir to review progress on the reconstruction of more than half a million homes destroyed or damaged during a devastating earthquake two years ago.
Mr. Daniel Biau, Director of the agency’s Regional and Technical Cooperation Division, traveled to the districts of Dhirkot, Bagh and Rawalakot where more than 70,000 people died and more than 3.5 million were rendered homeless when an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the region on 8 October 2005.
He attended some village reconstruction committee meetings, and observed work still underway.
UN-HABITAT is providing training on earthquake resistant construction techniques for the rebuilding of 561,332 homes. More than 265,000 engineers, artisans, labourers and survivors have been trained in reconstruction work, and to date, 1 billion dollars have already been disbursed by Pakistan’s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority. So far, 323,669 houses have been rebuilt or partially reconstructed.
UN-HABITAT is helping the Authority provide financial assistance to an estimated 12,000 families whose land was lost in landslides. The Deputy Chairman of the Authority, General Nadeem Ahmed, formally solicited UN-HABITAT’s technical support to help rebuild the four main towns hit by earthquake – Muzzafarabad, Balakot, Bagh and Rawalakot.
Mr. Biau also held talks with the Minister of State (Environment Division) Mr. Malik Amin Aslam; the Minister of State (Economic Affairs Division), Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar; the Director General UN Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), General Farooq Ahmad Khan.