U.N. launches Pakistan quake recovery plan

May 17, 2006 at 7:02 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, May 16 (UPI) -- The United Nations has launched a 12-month, $300 million early recovery plan to bridge in Pakistan the transition from earthquake relief to reconstruction.

Jan Vandemoortele, the U.N. Development Program's resident representative in Pakistan, told reporters at U.N. World Headquarters in New York Tuesday the plan in essence is to make sure when refugees return home "the services are going to follow those people."

He said the United Nations wants to see "the girls who were able to go to school -- very often for the first time -- in the camps will be able to continue to go to school, that water supply will be safe and adequate in the mountains, that basic health care will be available so that those people can rebuild their houses and stay for the next winter."

The resident representative said $100 million had already been secured from donors, so the United Nations was seeking an additional $200 million for the recovery plan. The initiative will play a catalytic role in optimizing the rest of the $6.2 billion pledged for the Pakistan earthquake relief effort.

The disaster devastated Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province and Azad Jammu Kashmir region. Over 73,400 people died, 3.3 million Pakistanis were left homeless and 69,400 seriously injured.

"In the past, relief work activities have tended to dwindle as relief operations come to an end and before reconstruction activities can fully take off. If this were to happen in Pakistan, many survivors could face another difficult situation next winter," said Vandemoortele.

"Timely support needs to continue to arrive to the affected populations who are starting to rebuild their normal lives now so that they no longer have to rely on humanitarian assistance," he said.

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