UN-HABITAT this week received additional funding of USD 2 million from the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom to strengthen its training and technical assistance for the victims of a Pakistan earthquake who lost their homes.
“UN-HABITAT Pakistan is starting its third year of activities in support of the reconstruction of safer housing in the mountainous areas affected by the October 2005 earthquake. The main focus of the activities has been to provide basic training and technical advice to rebuild earthquake resistant houses. This has been strongly supported by the strengthening or creation of thousands of community organizations” said Jean-Christophe Adrian, the UN-HABITAT Pakistan Chief Technical Adviser.
Since October 2005, UN-HABITAT Pakistan has raised USD 17 million for its earthquake response from various donors including the Canada, Sweden, Britain and the United States. To date over 660,000 people have been trained on how to build homes using earthquake resistant construction techniques.
UN-HABITAT’s work has helped significantly improve understanding and application of safer building techniques.
The housing reconstruction programme in Pakistan is internationally recognized as an unprecedented success with two thirds of the 600,000 houses damaged or destroyed already rebuilt after two years. With heavy snowfalls and temperatures dropping as low as minus 14, this winter is the most severe experienced in northern Pakistan for more than a decade.
Because of the rate of reconstruction, there has so far been no increase in the number of people dying of cold. The government’s Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) would like to finalize the housing reconstruction programme by October 2008, and the new funding from Britain will enable the programme to continue until then.