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International Development: Azad Kashmir Earthquake

Volume 690: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assistance they have provided to families whose homes were destroyed in the Azad Kashmir earthquake; and whether they have made an assessment of (a) what proportion of the families whose homes were destroyed have been rehoused in new permanent structures; (b) the number of families sharing accommodation; (c) the number living in temporary structures; (d) the number living in tents; and (e) the number of families who have left Azad Kashmir. [HL2241]

DfID committed £54 million in rapid humanitarian relief, including on essential supplies for shelter, health, and water and sanitation for families affected by the earthquake. A further £70 million for reconstruction and rehabilitation has been committed. Most of this will be direct support for the highest priorities outlined by the Government of Pakistan, such as housing, social protection, health, education and livelihoods. DfID is supporting programmes through international organisations, including a disease early warning system (DEWS) to minimise the risks of any epidemics for earthquake-affected families, and work to strengthen social protection services for the most vulnerable families and individuals.

Precise figures are difficult to obtain in the post-disaster context, but estimates from the Government of Pakistan and international organisations are, for the earthquake areas as a whole, as follows:

(a) approximately 72,046 families (out of an anticipated total of 431,640) have now received the final tranche of compensation from the Government, which indicates that this number of people have completed or nearly completed the building of their homes;

(b) according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN, there are no accurate figures on the number of families sharing accommodation;

(c) and (d) on the number living in temporary structures, IOM and the UN report that there are approximately 34,000 people currently residing in camps, either in tents or semi-permanent structures; and

(e) IOM states that the number of people who have migrated from Pakistan-administered Kashmir is approximately 10 per cent of the 116,572 affected families.

This information is, to the best of our knowledge, an accurate assessment.