For the residents of the south western Pakistan region of Baluchistan, a bleak winter was a looming reality until an intervention by UN-HABITAT helped them to put roofs over their heads.
A winter in the open with the attendant calamitous effects would have been a double disaster for the 800 families residing in the mountainous area who suffered a huge blow last October after a devastating earthquake hit the area.
The earthquake of magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale hit the area on 29 October 2008 affecting a huge swath of land extending from Ziarat district, some 110 kilometres northwest of Quetta, to Pishin and Harnai districts. According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority the total population affected by the earthquake was 68,200 people.
The Government Response Plan, mapped by the District Authorities, Pakistan Military and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in consultation with the Emergency Shelter Cluster, assigned UN-HABITAT the construction of 947 transitional shelters in 19 villages in the Union Councils of Kutch, Kawas and Ziarat in the District of Ziarat in Baluchistan province.
To realize this mandate, UN-HABITAT applied for and managed to get some USD 900,000 from the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Through the Shelter Cluster, UN-HABITAT launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, inviting NGOs for partnership in implementation. Ultimately two NGOs, the Taraqee Foundation and Islamic Relief were selected based on technical and operational capacity to join UN-HABITAT for implementation of the transitional shelter project. Moreover, several in-kind donations of shelter materials were received from USAID, Bali Memorial Trust and Zaman Foundation.
Out of a total of 947 shelters assigned to UN-HABITAT, 299 transitional shelters in 6 villages are being constructed by Taraqee Foundation under a partnership agreement with UN-HABITAT, while another 302 shelters (with same number of pit latrines) are being constructed by the Islamic Relief in 2 villages under similar arrangement. The remaining 346 shelters are to be constructed by UN-HABITAT directly.
According to the UN-HABITAT Country Programme Manager Siamak Moghaddam, the enthusiasm the beneficiaries had exhibited for the agency’s transitional shelters was proof that UN-HABITAT was the best placed organisation in housing disaster victims.
““UN-HABITAT is extremely happy with the support we received from CERF, NDMA and the Pakistan Military. As the premier UN agency in charge of human settlements we believe such partnerships are very crucial in helping people whether victims of disasters or not, to get shelter,” he added.