Pakistan flood victims lay foundations for new homes

28 Jan 2011

Niat Zareen moved into her new house last month, more optimistic about the days to come.
(Photo: UNDP)

“I lost everything, my house, my land and my cattle. This house is a blessing. It has brought new light and hope to our lives.” Bibi Roshan, 54 and mother of six children, in the province of Gilgit moved into her new home last month.

Islamabad – Some 177 families uprooted by the floods in the northernmost province of Gilgit-Baltistan last month moved into disaster-proof houses built with UNDP support.

The families are the first among thousands to build and then take up residence in the reinforced structures in the province where about 87,000 people, or 10 percent of the population, were displaced.

Some 500 of the houses were initially planned for about 4,500 people in Gilgit-Baltistan and neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In these combined areas, more than 3,300 houses were destroyed or damaged, affecting more than 29,000 people and killing 192.

The 37 square metre houses made of poplar wood – a common high-quality hardwood with greenish colour –, stone masonry and water-resistant roofs cost the equivalent of US$1,000. Inhabitants themselves earned income by collecting stones and planting foundations for the houses as part of a UNDP cash-for-work project.