Quake survivors given Rs75,000 housing aid

April 17, 2006


ISLAMABAD, April 16: The Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (Erra) has begun distributing cheques among people who lost their homes in last October’s devastating earthquake.

The authority’s deputy chairman, Maj-Gen Nadeem Ahmad, distributed cheques for Rs75,000 each among 50 quake survivors of Ghaniabad and Makdoom Koth in a ceremony held in Bagh on Saturday.

Maj-Gen Ahmad told the gathering that compensation money was supposed to be handed out on April 17 but Erra had started the process two days ahead of schedule.

“If the pace of work is sustained, the authority will complete assessment work within two months,” said Maj-Gen Ahmad.

He voiced appreciation for the contribution of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) in the housing assessment and sponsorship programme.

He said efforts would be made to strengthen the partnership established with PPAF and NRSP. He said Erra has planned 11 different programmes, out of which in its 1st phase, the authority will particularly focus on four key areas of livelihood, housing, health and education.

He said Erra would also start work on construction of road infrastructure, tourism promotion in the area, provision of electricity, environmental protection and promotion of the industrial sector.

He said the policies had been prepared to start work on housing, health, education and livelihood programmes after approval from the president and the prime minister.

Under the sponsorship programme, he said, any organisation that wants to construct schools or hospitals in quake-hit areas will be invited to come forward and start work.

He said Erra was striving to make the new housing units in the quake-affected areas safer to deal with any new earthquake. In this regard, he said, the authority is working closely with donors and other stakeholders engaged in reconstruction work in the affected areas of the NWFP and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

He advised the local communities of affected areas to contact the housing reconstruction centre and mobile training teams of NRSP for assistance for the reconstruction of seismically-safe houses.

He said the authority would help to reconstruct buildings and improve the delivery system in schools and hospitals for better management. He said teaching and paramedic staff will be provided in reconstructed schools and hospitals.

Under the livelihood programme, Maj-Gen Ahmad said, special compensation of Rs3,000 per month will be provided in the next six months to families that had lost their houses.

He said priority would be given to widows, families with disabled members, orphans or those without any means of income.—APP