Reconstruction Efforts Begin While Emergency Work Continues

While IOM is still working at full-speed to deliver shelter
material to the people of North West Frontier Province and
Pakistan-administered Kashmir, plans and pilot projects are
underway for the reconstruction effort that will be gearing up in
the spring.

Approximately 324,000 people in the region are out of work
– about 29 per cent of the population - and rebuilding the
economy and the infrastructure is a growing priority. Yesterday IOM
began an innovative pilot project creating gabions in Muzaffarabad,
employing vulnerable people in spontaneous settlements, giving them
a source of income and an incentive to return home. Women and
disabled people will be hired first in the
‘cash-for-work’ programme.

Gabions are made by bending and weaving wire around pins on the
ground to create mesh baskets. Sizes will vary from 1x1x1 metres to
1x1x3 metres. These baskets are then filled with stone, rubble and
dirt, and placed along road and river embankments to help prevent
further landslides and halt erosion. Aid effort has been greatly
hampered by continuous landslides following the 8 October
earthquake and any long-term reconstruction of the affected areas
will depend on a reliable road system.

In Muzaffarabad alone, 3 million (out of 43 million) cubic
metres of rubble has been cleared and most of it has been dumped
into the Jhelum riverbed, a process that is environmentally harmful
and which causes problems for the thousands of people living

“The programme is brilliant. It’s easy, cheap and
requires no special tools or expertise. Anyone can do it,”
says Julia Macro, IOM livelihood programme officer. “Rubble
removal is required before reconstruction can begin and gabion
construction solves the problem of where to dispose the rubble

Gabion construction will be established both in urban cities and
along the roads that lead to rural villages. Each job site will be
supplied with work gloves, water for washing, and free food.

The Mayor of Muzaffarabad, Zahid Amin, has pledged his full
support and the Public Works Department in Muzaffarabad is helping
by identifying the location priority list for gabion walls. The
Pakistan military battalions in the area will transport and erect
the gabion walls.

For further information, please contact

Saleem Rehmat

IOM Islamabad

Tel: +92 300 856 0341

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