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Pakistan: UNICEF announces $150 million earthquake recovery plan
Islamabad, Pakistan - UNICEF will construct 500 permanent schools and around 70 permanent rural health centres in areas devastated by Pakistan's October 2005 earthquake, as part of its 150 million dollar contribution to the recovery plan for affected areas.
"Underscoring our recovery plans is the commitment to build back better - a commitment we share with the Government of Pakistan. That is why we are planning to build earthquake-resistant schools and health facilities. We are also going to build 1,000 earthquake-resistant water supply systems,"
- erje Thodesen, head of UNICEF's emergency program for Pakistan
"The rebuilding of schools and health centres is a highlight of our roadmap to recovery in what many people have called the children's catastrophe," said outgoing UNICEF Representative Omar Abdi.
The earthquake damaged or destroyed almost 10,000 schools and three quarters of the area's health facilities. The rebuilding task in these sectors is enormous.
"Underscoring our recovery plans is the commitment to build back better - a commitment we share with the Government of Pakistan. That is why we are planning to build earthquake-resistant schools and health facilities. We are also going to build 1,000 earthquake-resistant water supply systems," said Terje Thodesen, head of UNICEF's emergency program for Pakistan.
In addition to rebuilding, UNICEF has extensive plans to build back better by boosting the quality and extent of education, health care, hygiene awareness, clean water and sanitation, and protection of children.
Training will be provided to around 20,000 teachers and 4,000 community-based health workers; hygiene awareness will be introduced through schools and health worker networks; malnutrition rates will be targeted; child protection networks will be developed.
UNICEF aims to have around 500,000 children enrolled in primary school in affected areas by mid 2008, including 100 percent of children who went to school before the earthquake and 30 percent of children who had previously never attended school.
UNICEF has established four field offices in the earthquake-affected areas, allowing staff to work more efficiently and safely. Access to the area is being hampered by wet weather, landslides and inhospitable terrain. Many devastated villages can only be reached by jeeps and foot, Thodesen said.
A special construction unit is being established in UNICEF's Pakistan headquarters to coordinate the massive task of rebuilding health facilities and schools with the Pakistani government's Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency.
UNICEF appealed to the donor community to give as generously to UNICEF's rehabilitation and reconstruction plan as it did to UNICEF's immediate relief effort. UNICEF is grateful to its donors and partners - such as the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway and the European Union - for their generous contributions.
Article has been adapted from a news release issued by UNICEF.