Pakistan: Relief and Health Services for Earthquake Affected Victims
Phase II Housing Reconstruction Begins: June 2016 – September 2016
October 13, 2016
Dr. Rubina Mumtaz
Summary of Activities
On October 26, 2015, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Due to the depth of the earthquake, the damage caused by its otherwise powerful tremors was controlled. However, the main quake was followed by 87 aftershocks, which along with the winter rains and snowfall, triggered a series of landslides in these mountainous regions, causing weakly structured houses built on hill slopes to collapse. According to NDMA reports, more than 100,000 houses were destroyed, rendering nearly 600,000 people homeless or living in makeshift shelters.
After completing Phase I of our relief plan (objectives I-III: immediate relief shelter, food, and health care), RMF has begun Phase II of the project objectives: To assist in rebuilding destroyed homes.
The target population for Phase II is 44 households (approximately 500 men, women, and children). The project site is Tehsil Matta and Tehsil Saidu Shariff of District Swat. After obtaining permission/documentation from the relevant authorities, Phase II was officially launched on June 13th, 2016.
Shelter Needs Assessment Report
To undertake a comprehensive analysis of housing needs, Oxfam GB’s Guidelines for Post Disaster Housing Reconstruction were followed, with modified survey forms.
From the target population of the most vulnerable and needy, 44 case households were chosen for the project.
Architectural Base for Reconstruction of Houses
Vernacular Architectural Approach
RMF uses the vernacular architecture approach which is at type of architecture that is based on local needs, local construction materials, and reflecting local traditions.
Our shelter analysis, using interviews with the women of the households, came up with a model home that fit the cultural and gender requirements of the Swat society.
Four categories of locally manufactured materials were used:
- Walls- concrete block
- Roofs- iron beam and slab with mud-baked blocks
- Windows and doors- Metallic or wooden (unless preexisting intact doors and windows could be reused)
- Fixtures- pit latrines (ceramic cover, piped water, and walls/roofs provided by RMF)
Construction and Project Implementation
Vendors Hired Locally
Our strategy is to have at least 4 to 6 houses being built simultaneously, so we engage and evaluate 4 to 6 different, cost-effective contractors at a time.
The project is being implemented utilizing:
- Project staff- a two member team in the field
- Architect consulting support
- Close monitoring and evaluation
- Record keeping
Timeline Setbacks due to Holidays
A challenge envisioned is a delay in the project timeline due to several factors:
- Project initiated during the month of Ramadan (too difficult to construct while fasting)
- Working class laborers take at least 2 weeks of holiday on every Eid, the Muslim religious holidays
- Overestimation of work speed (a model house takes an average of 2½ months to complete)
On October 26, 2015, at 14.09 hrs, an earthquake of magnitude 7.7 hit the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The epicenter was centered in Badakhsan Province of Afghanistan, 76 Km north of the Chitral border of Pakistan.
The earthquake luckily spared extreme damage to infrastructure of the affected areas, hence the low rate of mortality and morbidity but remote villages tucked deep in the folds of the mountains composed of mud and wood have succumbed to the quake tremors rendering whole villages shelter less. Also the event triggered off a series of landslides in the mountainous regions that, in the face of the impending winter where it has been raining and snowing in some regions, led to power outages in many places and road blocks, isolating large tracts of areas where people are in need.
1. To provide immediate relief shelter
2. To provide immediate relief food
3. To provide immediate health care
4. To assist in rebuilding of destroyed homes
Click to enlarge
Five model houses are in the construction process; the time period for full construction of a model house is longer than repair, estimated at 2½ months. Two model houses are in the last stage of construction and are estimated to be completed by the end of September. The date of completion for the remaining three is estimated to be the end of October 2016.
Repair of Partially Damaged Houses
Ten houses in the repair category have been undertaken so far. Five have been successfully completed and handed over to the resident families. Of the remaining five cases, two are expected to be ready by the end of September, while the rest are estimated at the end of October 2016.
Orphanage Building Reconstruction
An orphanage, which also suffered due to the earthquake, has been selected for repairs. Although the location of this orphanage is not in a neighboring district of Swat, they reached out to us when they heard of our housing project. On visiting the premises, RMF learned that the orphanage houses over 70 boys aged between 7 and 16 years. In addition to other minor damages, the earthquake completely destroyed the roof of one dormitory that was housing 16 boys, who now had to camp out in other dormitories that were already fully occupied. The kitchen also sustained damage. Most of the damage was cracks due to the tremors, but this is an old building (more than 80 or 90 years old), so the cracks have led to leaks due to water from drainage, rainwater, and at one place, also septic tank leakage. All this has made parts of the orphanage uninhabitable or unusable.
Special permission was given by RMF USA’s head office to take up this case, as it was a deviation from our MOU. Based on the high-impact benefits of assisting so many vulnerable children within our limited budget, consent was granted.
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