19.04.2006 - Artículo
Kashmir earthquake: Reconstruction work is progressing well
A relatively mild winter has made it possible to prevent a second catastrophe. The SDC and its partners are now engaged in a reconstruction phase that is planned to last four years.
In December, the onset of winter raised fears that the survivors of the earthquake in Kashmir on 8 October 2005 might be hit by a second disaster: the cold and the snow. The most alarming forecasts predicted that several tens of thousands of additional lives would be lost due to weather conditions, making it impossible to provide sufficient help in the most elevated regions and build shelters adequate to resist the cold.
Fortunately, these predictions never materialised. Weather conditions have been relatively mild during the past four months in this mountainous area at the foot of the Himalayas. Nevertheless, successful prevention of a second catastrophe is also the result of joint efforts by the Pakistani authorities and the international community, including the SDC’s Department of Humanitarian Aid.
In their winterisation programme, the SDC and its partners were able to provide construction material and tools to 15,000 families in the Kaghan Valley in time for them to build winter-proof shelters. Heating units, covers and sleeping bags no longer needed by the Swiss army were distributed. Furthermore, 50 temporary shelters were constructed for schools and health centres, along with two sanitary units also provided by the Swiss army.
Formation of rescue teams
Following emergency relief, for which Switzerland spent CHF 11 million, the reconstruction phase has now begun. Planned to last from 2006 to 2009, this phase is expected to result in the rebuilding of public infrastructure in around fifty villages. At the same time, technical personnel is to be trained in the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings; in the end, around 60,000 family homes will have benefited from this programme. With the aim of restoring local living conditions, 10,400 families will be provided with seed, small stock, fertiliser, and agricultural extension. The same families will also benefit from cash-for-work programmes. Finally, the Department of Humanitarian Aid will support the government of Pakistan in setting up urban search and rescue teams.
The launch of these programmes, representing an investment of CHF 22 million over four years, coincides with the 40th anniversary of SDC’s presence in Pakistan (1966–2006). On this occasion, several events are planned to illustrate the current work of SDC, in combination with a retrospective on four decades of development cooperation with Pakistan.
More information is available on the website of our cooperation office in Islamabad: www.sdcpakistan.org