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syed kamal hussain shah
By syed kamal hussain shah
2005 Earthquake: Reconstruction Work Still Incomplete

Abbottabad: Despite the passage of eight years, the government has miserably failed to rehabilitate schools, health facilities and other public services destroyed by the 2005 earthquake. According to the Earthquake Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) 60 per cent of education and about half of the health facilities have not yet been reconstructed. Sadly, some partially damaged schools and other facilities were demolished following the quake, with the false promise to “build back better.” The government’s gross failure and negligence continues to affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens devastated by one of the deadliest natural disasters experienced in this region.

Tehreek Huqooq-e-Hazara (THH) severely condemns the abysmal performance of the government that painfully portrays its complete abandonment of and apathy towards those it is meant to serve. It demands:

• a comprehensive audit of the funds received against the US$6.2 billion pledged by donors in November 2005
• across-the-board accountability of those responsible for ERRA’s inability to meet reconstruction targets it had set
• a clear roadmap/timeframe as well as institutional responsibility for completing the reconstruction of destroyed facilities
• disbanding parallel institutions like ERRA, PERRA, SERRA, etc., that have failed to fulfill their mandate

ERRA’s failures are unfortunately not isolated cases of misgovernance. Multiple governments at the center and the provinces have subsequently demonstrated their inability to respond to natural and other humanitarian crisis. This is most painfully evident at present in government’s response to the earthquake of 7.8 magnitude in Balochistan. Similarly, in the past, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa failed to deliver its promised support to those affected by militancy in Malakand in 2009. The elaborate Watan Card system only provided partial support. Similarly, those affected by the 2010 floods were also mostly left to fend for themselves. Within the context of these consistent failures, the Tehreek Huqooq-e-Hazara calls for:

• urgent policy attention to develop government capacity and institutional mechanisms for effective disaster preparedness and response
• institutional mechanisms integrated into existing government structures so as to ensure more effective accountability and oversight

The 2005 earthquake claimed more than 75,000 lives, injured over 70,000 and left nearly three million without shelter. On the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the disaster, the THH held a dua for all those that lost their lives in the earthquake 2005, floods 2010 and the earthquake 2013 in Balochistan. Earlier, hundreds of women and men from earthquake affected areas of Mansehra, Battagram and Abbottabad joined in a protest rally started from Lady Garden to Press Club Abbottabad, participants of the rally chanted slogans against ERRA and PERRA, they reaffirmed their commitment to strive for the rights of those that are still struggling to rebuild their lives. The rally also demanded prompt relief and rehabilitation assistance should be provided to citizens affected by the 2013 earthquake in Balochistan.

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