ISLAMABAD, July 12: The Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra), which will be six years old in November, has completed only 35 per cent projects in the education sector and less than half of the 13,000 projects it had initiated over these years.
The authority originally had a mandate for three years, which was later extended to five years to complete its work. However it was given a
permanent status through an act of parliament and this extended its scope to the entire country.
This was revealed by the authority’s chairman, Hamid Yar Hiraj, and deputy chairman Lt-Gen Sardar Mehmood Ali Khan at the International Donors and Sponsors Conference at the PM Secretariat here on Tuesday. The authority organises this annual function every year to solicit more financial aid.
Mr Hiraj, who enjoys the status of a minister of state, told the participants that against pledges of $5.5 billion, the international community has so far provided an actual amount of $5.7 billion. The authority has spent Rs365 billion during this period and still needs Rs100 billion to complete the remaining work in the earthquake-devastated areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir.
In his presentation, Lt-Gen Mehmood Ali Khan said Erra had constructed 25,442 houses at a cost of Rs3.6 billion and 600,000 million houses in the rural areas at a cost of Rs73 billion.
He said 92 per cent of water and sanitation projects and only 35 per cent in the education sector had been completed, adding that more funding was needed to complete the remaining projects.
Representatives of the earthquake-hit areas, including Special Assistant to Prime Minister Syed Qasim Shah, while talking
to reporters after the conference, expressed their dismay over the delayed Erra operations and the resulting sufferings of the affected people.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was chief guest on the occasion, acknowledged the role of all national and international agencies that
helped the affected people 2005 earthquake.
Ambassadors from donor countries, ADP and World Bank country directors and representatives of international agencies and organisations also attended the conference.
Mr Gilani said Erra had completed the early relief phase at a cost of Rs130 billion, oversaw the construction of over 600,000 seismically safe houses at a cost of Rs76 billion, completed over 7,100 infrastructure projects at the cost of Rs150 billion and the water and sanitation programme.
He said realisation of Erra’s mission to ‘Build Back Better’ in the nine earthquake-affected districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would not have been possible without the unrelenting support of bilateral and multilateral donors and sponsors.
The organisation, the participants were informed, has transformed into an efficient disaster management outfit, with robust standard operating procedures and quality control mechanisms, becoming the first government organisation to be ISO-certified that also won the prestigious United Nations Sasakawa Award 2011 for its outstanding performance.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian said his government had given priority to rehabilitation and reconstruction, provided assistance for the construction of a school and medical centre and would set up 10 earthquake monitoring centres in Pakistan, of which six have been completed and connected to the data processing centre in Islamabad.
Ambassador Robin Raphael of USAID, representatives of the government of Saudi Arabia, the Asian Development Bank, DFID of the United Kingdom and the United Nations highlighted the contributions of their organisations in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.Dawn.