Pakistan: SPAPEV completes 4000 pre-fabricated houses at Balakot; more projects to be started in quake-hit areas

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Islamabad, July 7th, 2008: Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan earthquake Victims, a Saudi relief organization has completed 4000 houses worth 18.5 million US dollar to resettle the Balakot quake affectees.

Addressing a ceremony which organized to celebrate the completion of housing project, held here on Monday, Dr. Khalid M. Al-Othmani, the Regional Director, Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims, said that the houses have been handed over to families of Balakot displaced due to South Asian earthquake.

Besides others, Secretary General Engineer Fahad Al-Mubarak arrived here specially to hand over this huge project. Dr. Khalid M. Al- Othmani, the Regional Director of SPAPEV, thanked the chief guest of the event, H.E Owais Ahmed Ghani, the Governor of NWFP, Excellency, Ali Awadh Asseri, the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan and all the dignitaries for honoring us by their presence.

He told media that the October 8, 2005 earthquake not only played havoc, but also destroyed the infrastructure of many parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and North Frontier Province of Pakistan. At the time of natural calamity, the International welfare Organizations, government agencies, Pakistan Army, and several other NGOs without wasting time, rushed to the site of quake-ravaged areas and started rescue, and relief, operation on emergency basis.

He said that a huge amount was required to revive the destroyed infrastructure of quake-stricken areas of Pakistan. Keeping in view the gravity of large scale destruction of our Pakistani brethren, leadership of Pakistan, appealed international community and on the call of President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, the custodian of two holy mosques, requested Saudi public to donate for this humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Public responded from the depths of their hearts to help their brothers and sisters. Hundreds of millions of riyals were collected from this campaign. For proper utilization of these funds, Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims was established and started dispatching hundreds of containers loaded with relief material for distribution among the earthquake victims.

He said that our organization, Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims, initiated the work in quake-hit areas under the directives of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, supervision of Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Saudi Interior Minister, and guidance of Dr. Saaed Al Harithy, Advisor to Interior Minister who is also the Chairman of SPAPEV.

Besides rescue and relief operation, the consultation with ERRA was started for rebuilding the areas affected by the South Asian earthquake. Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims took the initiatives to provide housing facilities for the displaced families of earthquake. According to the talks held between SPAPEV and ERRA, it was decided to first rebuild the most affected areas of Pakistan, and following the direction, a project of 4000 houses was made for Balakot city.

The Balakot city was declared as Red Zone and the people living since decades were reluctant to leave their forefathers places. A midterm housing was necessary to bridge the gap from tents to permanent housing. Saudi Arabia, keeping in view the worse situation, took the responsibility and step up efforts, to provide housing in the shape of pre-fabricated houses.

Under the dynamic and broad based vision, and policies of the organization, , Dr. Khalid M.Al-Othmani, said that a project of 18.5 million US dollar for the construction of 4000 houses comprising two bed rooms, kitchen, toilets, and a veranda was started in Balakot area.

'Al-Hamdulillah, the project, has been completed to accommodate some 4000 families in the houses' Dr. Othmani said. 'It is all due to hard working of the organization, who under the directives of Prince Naif, and guidance of its Chairman, Dr. Saaed Al-Harithy completed this project' he added.

Giving details of the relief work done so far, since, the organization started its operation at quake hit areas of AJK and NWFP, he said the organization has provided 230,000 blankets, 150,000 quilts, 12500 winterized tents, 4.0 million riyals medicine, stoves, 100,000 food packets containing sugar, pulses, Ghee, Oil, rice, flour bags, etc. and thousands of polypropylene sheets 'Tarpal' for the affectees.

The Organization (SPAPEV) has also handed over a huge quantity of relief aid worth millions of riyals to different organization including International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), Khubaib Foundation, Al-Khidmat Foundation, Read Foundation, ERRA, National Volunteer Movement (NVM), Pakistan Red Crescent Society, AJK and NWFP governments for onward distribution.

It also provided two million dollars to UNICEF for construction of five basic Health units in AJK and two million dollar to World Food Program, for the purchase of flour bags which have been distributed among quake-hit affectees.

The organization has also provided 0.7 million US dollar to READ Foundation for school books, uniform, stationery, and other necessary material for education purposes. Besides, the organization also installed two shelter-schools including stationery and other essential material for educational purposes for the children of Kotli Sattian, Murree and the project was completed at the cost of 0.5 million rupees.

Talking about the future projects he said that SPAPEV is planning to construct 3,000- pre-fabricated house at AJK, number of secondary schools, construction of several mosques damaged in earthquake, five fully equipped Basic Health Units in coordination with UNICEF are also included in the future plans. On the occasion, he lauded the efforts of Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, who is also supporting the organization in all its ongoing projects and personally taking interest in the rebuilding of earthquake affected areas.

The organization would continue to help Pakistani quake affectees on humanitarian basis and would not leave Pakistani brethren in this hour of trial. The relations between the two brotherly Islamic countries would further be strengthened in days to come.

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