Erra prepares winter contingency plan

Islamabad, Oct 5: The Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) has prepared a contingency plan to protect earthquake survivors during the upcoming harsh winter.

According to an Erra document, 30% of the total number of people affected by the earthquake had started reconstruction and 60% of them were complying with safety standards devised by the authority. But according to Uk-based aid agency Oxfam, only 17% of the 450,000 affected households had begun building permanent homes.

Erra estimated that last year’s quake had damaged 600,000 rural and 22,000 urban houses. Accounts for 600,000 beneficiaries had been opened in banks and post offices and Rs30.2 billion disbursed to 431,226 beneficiaries.

The Pakistan army and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation fund (PPAF) had assessed 579,689 rural houses and Erra had developed a database of damaged rural houses. A decentralized grievance redressal system was also put into place by Erra and it had so far addressed 110,000 complaints.

The agency had set up 65 construction material hubs and 12 housing reconstruction centres besides providing training to 12,000 master trainers and 75,000 artisans and house owners.

According to Erra documents, masterplans of Muzaffarabad and Bagh had been finalised while plans for Rawlakot and New Balakot were in final stages.

It had finalised a portfolio of 149 projects in Muzaffarabad and arranged $ 300 million for them.

A Rs16.92 billion livelihoods rehabilitation strategy had been finalized while 216,571 people had been enrolled for Rs5 billion Cash Grants Programme launched in April. So far, Rs 2.8 billion had been paid.

The document also mentioned an interim Rs5.74 billion Erra-UN livelihoods support programme, covering 26 projects and Rs3 billion micro finance launched by Khushhali bank. It said schemes worth Rs3 billion covering agriculture, livelihood, skill development sectors were being prepared and a survey for reconstruction of livelihoods sector departments being carried out and their designs were being finalised.

In education sector, Erra said, all education facilities had been made functional through temporary structures. It said 1,574 facilities were to be reconstructed in 2006-07, including 535 by sponsors and 298 by donors.

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