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Sat 14 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Reconstruction deadline looms

Aim to complete post-earthquake housing rebuild in Pakistan by December 2008, with 80% of infrastructure in 2009

The construction of all houses destroyed in last year’s earthquake in Pakistan will be completed by December 2008, while 80% of infrastructure, including educational institutions and healthcare facilities, would be in place in 2009, reported the Islamic Republic News Agency.

In his address to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) annual review conference held in Islamabad last week, President General Pervez Musharraf vowed that the government would not fall short of ensuring the survivors are given a better standard of living and facilities.

All houses will be constructed under an owner-driven policy and infrastructure will be built on a need-based strategy.

Under the World Bank-funded government compensation scheme, each homeowner is to receive nearly US $2,500 (PKR151,400) to rebuild their homes, while those whose homes were partially damaged will get $825 for repairs.

Homes must be rebuilt according to specifications laid down by ERRA.

But the pace of reconstruction is being hampered by a combination of poor road conditions, shortage of appropriate transport and distance from material suppliers, making it difficult for people to get access to building materials at fair prices.

The target of 2009 has been set by the ERRA to complete 80% of the quake resistant infrastructure in the areas affected by the disaster.

The current cost of reconstruction has been estimated at $4.4 billion, compared to an initial estimate of $3.6 billion.

President Musharraf has called on the international community to help meet the $800 million shortfall and the challenge of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Balakot town in Northwest Frontier Province, which sits on the fault line, is to be relocated at Bakrial, a site near Balakot, and will be built using earthquake-resistant technology.

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