Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post-flood Pakistan's housing needs

Siamak Moghaddam in the Nation (Pakistan): The unprecedented flood in Pakistan’s history and the enormous all-round damage it has done have tasked the decision makers with finding answers to daunting questions that they may not be prepared for.

...According to the government’s figures, some 1.74 million households have lost their homes. The level of investment and effort for reconstruction of this sector is gigantic and runs into billions of dollars. However, Pakistan has proven before that it can rebuild its housing sector in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and that it can do it again, if the right policies and strategies are adopted.

Looking back at the response to recent disasters could lead to lessons for application to the current flood response. In the reconstruction strategy of Kashmir earthquake, a staged assistance package (Rs 175,000) was provided to the affected population together with earthquake resistant designs and standards and an extensive technical assistance programme, free of charge; communities were mobilised en masse for earthquake resistant construction and awareness.

People were central to the decision on their own housing and fully involved in the reconstruction of their own homes. Women were actively engaged in the decision making at household level. At the end of the Rural Housing Rehabilitation Programme (2009), some 436,543 houses (95 percent of the destroyed houses) were completed of which 97 percent were determined as compliant with ERRA standards and hence safer….

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