Asian Development Bank Provides $1 Billion to Help Rebuild Quake-Hit Pakistan

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LAHORE: October 8, 2005 was one of the most unfortunate days for the Pakistani nation. It was the day when Pakistan-administered Kashmir and tribal areas of the country were severely struck by the 7.6 magnitude of earthquake which jolted the whole nation.

The calamity killed around 80 thousand people whereas more than 100,000 people were injured. Millions of people lost their homes due to this catastrophe and a sufficient number of these people are still homeless.

“About 3.3 million people are homeless in a mountainous area covering 25,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles) around Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and the closest big town to the epicenter of the quake and in the country’s North West Frontier province,” reported the Bloomberg two weeks after the earthquake.

The Kashmir earthquake was the 16th deadliest earthquake in the known history of calamities and the international community provided over $5.4 billion aid for the rehabilitation of quake-hit areas. Although the government of Pakistan established the Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) to supervise the rehabilitation process, but the New Balakot City has yet to be established to accommodate the homeless people.

The local people, who demonstrated near the AJK University to mark the 6th anniversary of the earthquake, are complaining that the government has not given them any relaxation in debts or income tax, as it was promised to them. According to them, there are 1,200 schools in the calamity-hit areas where no proper shelter is available for children.

The aid that Pakistan received with reference to the rehabilitation process was more than the estimated loss. On the 19th of November 2005, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on its website, “ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda has announced that ADB will provide about $1 billion in concessional support for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of earthquake-hit Pakistan.

President Kuroda made the announcement at the Donors Conference on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Earthquake Affected Areas in Islamabad today. The support, he said, will help meet the estimated $5.2 billion required to reconstruct lost assets and restore services in Pakistan.”

Atif K Butt is a young Pakistani journalist and translator based in Lahore.Atif has worked with print and electronic news organizations. He contributes to various newspapers and magazines as a freelancer. Access him through NewsBlaze or visit his blog at atifkbutt.blog.com