Sufferings of 2005 quake victims continue after 6 years
October, it has been six years since the devastating earthquake which affected millions of people in Pakistan.
The government of Azad Kashmir has announced a public holiday on Saturday.
According to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) figures, out of 13,982 projects designed so far, only 7016 (54%) have been completed. 4218 are under construction, 1664 are at tendering stage and 405 projects are still at designing stage.
The Erra officials agree that failure in shifting the population of Balakot (the city is estimated to be 95 per cent destroyed) to new town in a period of six years is extremely unjust and a violation of human rights.
It is estimated that 74,000 people died and over 2.8 million people were left without shelter following the earthquake in 2005. Many children were separated from their families and left alone, struggling to fend for themselves in a chaotic environment.
Mansehra, Abbottabad, Battagram and Kohistan in Hazara and Shangla in Malakand division were badly hit by the tragedy and over 25,000 people were killed.
The worst turn in the rehabilitation process, a high ranking Erra official said, came when flash floods hit the country in 2010 and again this year. This forced the government to redirect the money meant for Erra to victims of floods.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, he said, had recently assured the Erra council that the land in new Balakot town would be cleared within two months. If achieved, the development work could then be completed in 18 months.