September 2006 News

USAID Pledges $200m For 4-year Quake Rebuild Plan

29 September 2006
The Nation

Islamabad: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged $200 million for 4-year Earthquake Reconstruction Programme beginning from next month to rebuild schools and hospitals, improve education and health services, and enhance economic well being in the quake-affected areas of NWFP and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The USAID is also rebuilding two public schools in Dadar village in Siran Valley Mansehra District, which were destroyed during the October 2005 earthquake. Eight classrooms of the Government Centennial Model High School for Boys will reopen next month while the work on the girls' school is in progress. USAID Mission Director Jonathan S Addleton stated this while talking to media persons at the residence of Minister Counselor for Public Affairs US Embassy James H Williams here on Friday, along with USAID Deputy Director Earthquake Reconstruction Program Marilee Kane and USAID Director of Communications Whit Mason. Jonathan said the USAID has the commitment of 3 to 5 years in the quake-affected areas, especially in the sectors of construction, health, education and livelihoods. He said for the construction purposes, $130 million would be spent over five years. During this period, the USAID will build, furnish and equip primary healthcare facilities and local hospitals, and primary, middle and high schools. All the buildings will be constructed to meet internationally recognised earthquake resistant building standards. In the health sector, the USAID will spend $28 million over 4 years. The primary healthcare revitalisation integration project will work with health officials and citizens to integrate, improve and expand the network of health services for residents of the earthquake-affected areas. In the education sector, $ 13 million would be spent over four years. The US mission along with NGO Sungi Development will work with district education offices, teachers, parents and communities to improve the quality of classroom instruction in the earthquake areas. He said dollar 28 million would be spent over three years for the livelihood of the quake-affected people. This programme will work to recover and expand the economy of the earth-quake-affected areas through activities aimed at households, industries and markets. USAID will assist remote farmers and herders as they reestablish and expand crop systems, restore and care for livestock, reconstruct animal shelters, repair water systems, and restore orchards, leading to better income opportunities. Jonathan said all activities would be developed cooperatively with local residents and the government of Pakistan. Within six months of the earthquake, he recalled, the US government provided helicopters that had flown over 5,900 relief operations, brought emergency shelter materials to 596,000 families and delivered 7,270 metric tons of food assistance. Replying to a question, Jonathan said the Earthquake reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) has a huge challenge and the interaction and coordination with them is very well. USAID Deputy Director Earthquake Reconstruction Program Marilee Kane said the aid agency is providing loans to small medium entrepreneurs through banks. Their main emphasis is in Bagh, Siran and Kaghan valleys. Kane said during winters the officials would monitor the situation closely and respond to the needs of the people accordingly. To another question, Jonathan said that religious organizations working at the quake-affected areas are not making any problems for them. Their ground cooperation is also good, he added. The USAID officials also talked about the cash-for-work programme based in the Kaghan Valley, where skilled and unskilled labourers from 40 local villages have been hired for restoring essential infrastructure damaged by the earthquake.


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