Pakistan: Relief and reconstruction continues one year after the 8 Oct 2005 earthquake

News and Press Release
Originally published
Islamabad October, 2006 - One year after the massive earthquake that killed almost 73,000 people and rendered over 3 million homeless, the United Nations pay homage to the victims and tribute to the courage and resilience of the survivors.

Mr. Jan Vandemoortele, Humanitarian Coordinator, in a briefing on the Early Recovery Plan Review said, "Hundreds of ordinary people from all over Pakistan rallied to the immediate aid of communities devastated by the Earthquake. As much as the earthquake was upsetting, its aftermath was uplifting. The relief effort was efficient and impressive."

Lt. General Nadeem Ahmed, Deputy Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) highlighted the coordination challenges on the ground and the limited coverage of the outlying districts of Poonch, Neelum, Kohistan and Shangla. He said that, "Plans are underway to extend assistance to populations residing in the rural areas and high altitudes to stabilize population movements during winter, and to assist families in the urban areas and camp settlements who will continue to be extremely vulnerable." He explained that the situation will be keenly monitored. He reiterated the importance of building the capacity of local partners, including that of the local authorities.

The Humanitarian Coordinator paid tribute to the Government of Pakistan for their swift response and cooperation with international community to provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of survivors. He said that, "Now our collective challenge is to rebuild safer, sustainable structures for the communities to become more resilient and stronger."

The Early Recovery Plan was developed jointly by ERRA, provincial authorities, the UN Country Team, and several non-governmental organisations. It covers the 12-month period following the end of the relief operations. Its aim is to bridge the gap between the end of the relief phase and the start of full-scale reconstruction.

The total funds required for the Early Recovery Plan has been revised to USD 255 million. Approximately USD 161 million had been mobilized, leaving a gap of just under USD 94 million. The best-funded sectors are Education, Governance, and Livelihoods while the least funded include WatSan, Housing, and Support to Vulnerable People. The implementation rate is nearly one-third of the total cost. The sectors with the highest delivery rate are Support to Vulnerable People, WatSan, and Governance while the sectors with the lowest rate are Housing, Health and Livelihoods.

The UN agencies together with ERRA are making preparations for the coming winter. Plans are underway to upgrade the services in the existing camps along with making provisions for an additional 10,000-15,000 persons who could seek refuge in the camps in case of a harsh winter. The Humanitarian Coordinator informed that , "For the coming year , we will see that the people stay where they are in the mountains, that they will only come down if it's a really harsh winter. The stocks for shelter and food are being stockpiled in the valleys and lower plains. The food will be sold at subsidized rates to the people."

"We are bringing in a small fleet of helicopters as a part of winter preparations, in the event that this winter proves to be a hard one," disclosed the Humanitarian Coordinator.