MANSEHRA, May 10: Besides causing massive deaths and large-scale damage to property, the 2005 earthquake also led to a lower literacy rate in Mansehra, district coordination officer Dr Amber Ali Khan said on Thursday.
Speaking to a National Management College, Lahore, delegation here, the DCO said Mansehra’s literacy rate had dropped to 64 per cent from 67 per cent since October 2005 when an earthquake devastated the district.
He said the unmatched natural calamity killed over 18,000 people and destroyed more than 1200 schools in Mansehra.
“Though the district is gradually returning to normalcy, we have still to go a long way for its complete recovery from the disaster. Until now, we’re able to reconstruct 60 per cent of the destroyed infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Amber said Mansehra had a historic background and was made a district in 1976.
He said historic Ashoka rock edicts were found along Karakoram Highway in Mansehra city, while Siren, Kunhar and Indus rivers passed through the district.
The DCO said Mansehra was also famous for natural resources and beauty, and attracted lots of tourists every year.
He said the October 2005 earthquake destroyed local tourism industry, which was considered a vital source of income in Balakot tehsil of district. He said Mansehra district consisted of 59 union councils and Mansehra, Balakot and Oghi tehsils.
Meanwhile, a local representative of US charity Catholic Relief Service (CRS) on Thursday said it was wrapping up its post-2005 earthquake rehabilitation activities in Mansehra district.
“We rebuilt 46 schools and initiated numerous water and sanitation schemes in Konsh and Siren valleys and are going to depart,” said CRS project manager Shah Saud at a function in Bugermung area.
Programme manager Malik Saeed Akhtar and local elders also spoke on the occasion.
Mr Saud lauded the locals’ cooperation to CRS for completion of projects. He said besides reconstructing 46 schools, CRS imparted training to 163 male and 68 female teachers in targeted union councils under an ‘Integrated Education Programme.’
Mr Saud said under the project, 71 male and 28 female parent-teachers associations were also formed to enhance child enrolment at schools and address issues faced by teachers and schoolchildren in targeted areas.
He said CRS would close down its office in Mansehra by the end of the current fiscal.
Local elders thanked CRS for its efforts to improve educational, water and sanitation facilities in the areas.Dawn.