The first batch of Pakistani rural landless who lost land as a result of the 2005 earthquake last week started receiving financial assistance from the government of Pakistan for the purchase of new land.
As a result of the earthquake thousands of families were unable to rebuild their houses due to landslides and flooding which have destroyed their land. In February this year, the Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) Council, headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, announced a financial assistance package of $1,250 for each rural family that lost land as a result of the earthquake.
The first beneficiaries of this policy received financial assistance and purchased land through a ‘One Window Operation’ held in Mansehra. The financial transaction was conducted simultaneously with the land mutation in order to ensure the grant was used towards the purchase of land.
The first 9 families from Tehsil Mansehra to receive the grant and undergo the land mutation were, Chan, Ali Akbar Shah, Sakhi Shah, Sakhi Shah, Mubarik Shah, Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Rafique Shah, Guldad and Shah Hussain.
The Deputy Chairman ERRA, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed told the gathering: “ERRA and its partners, especially the Provincial Government, the District Coordination Officer in particular, UN-HABITAT and the Pakistan Army have worked very hard in making today a reality. I am proud to witness the beneficiaries of this policy receive the grant and become landowners. What’s especially heartening is that the mutation of land is being done in the name of all family members, thus ensuring that women and children are also beneficiaries.”
He added that ERRA’s support will not stop here. It will also provide these same families an additional $2,500 to rebuild their homes on their newly purchased land.
The District Coordination Officer, Mansehra, Captain (R) Munir Azam was pleased to have the inaugural event held in his District. He said, “I am extremely happy that this policy is finally being implemented as we have waited a long time. We started with Jabba Camp residents and today we are beginning to rehabilitate all of the most vulnerable people affected by the earthquake who are landless. They will finally be able to move on with their lives and rebuild their homes with dignity.”
A UN-HABITAT representative said: Today is an excellent example of good coordination and partnership between ERRA, the Army, the Provincial Government, and the UN towards the effective rehabilitation of the earthquake victims.”
Following today’s inaugural event, similar one window operations will be held for the rural landless throughout the earthquake affected area targeting more than 10,000 landless families. UN-Habitat is supporting the implementation of this initiative with funding from DFID.