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Rebuilding in Pakistan

Last year’s devastating floods across Pakistan left over 1.7 million homes damaged and destroyed crops across an area of more than 2.2 million hectares.

Therefore following the disaster, agencies and foreign governments provided millions of people with shelter and food supplies.

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), for example, provided tents and shelters for around 1.3 million people. As well as food and other emergency supplies, DFID also provided wheat and vegetable seeds, fertiliser, animal feed and veterinary services to more than 115,000 rural families to help them avoid further loss of animal stocks and to begin replanting in order to reduce dependency on food aid. To support the rebuilding of infrastructure, the UK also funded the repair of 1,500 schools, helping around 200,000 children to get back into school in the Sindh and Punjab provinces.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in Pakistan now reports that apart from a few districts in Sindh and Bolochistan, where approximately 235,000 acres of land is still submerged, the flood waters have receded and around 97 per cent of displaced people have returned to their home communities. The NDMA also states that thanks to support from the various international and local non-governmental organisations, post-flood disease epidemics have been averted.

But while the NDMA expresses gratitude for all the international assistance, the head of the organisation believes more aid should now be targeted at disaster avoidance. In an interview with AlertNet, General Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of the NDMA, said that if just 40 million dollars had been spent on flood protection structures before the disaster, flood damages would have been reduced to a tenth of the estimated 10 billion dollars worth of losses. He therefore urged donors to target money towards disaster risk work, as well as providing general relief assistance. The General also spoke of developing public buildings as evacuation centres in rural areas, so there were places where people could protect livestock. He believed such measures would also help prevent loss of life in any future disasters. “If people know they can go to such places where they have water, shade, food and electricity, they’ll be more than willing to come out of harm’s way”, he said.

While the NDMA chairman reported that roads, railways and energy infrastructure had been repaired to a ‘stabilised’ level where trains and vehicles were flowing again, he warned that the reconstruction needed in Pakistan would take at least three to five years.

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