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Habitat and Partners to Help Earthquake Survivors with Winter Shelter * * * Swiss-backed Concept Will House Families

November 10, 2005

ISLAMABAD 10th November 2005: Habitat for Humanity and various community development partners in Pakistan have joined forces to make available winter shelter for some 500 rural families left homeless by the 8th October earthquake.

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Facing the challenge of winter: A mother and her children huddle at the doorway of their tent in the mountains near Balakot, Pakistan. Nearby are piles of stone and wood salvaged from their house, which collapsed during the October 8 earthquake.

“At this point, our objective is to help these families get into decent shelter before the winter snows make access even more difficult,” says Barry Mackey, Habitat’s regional program manager for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The effort is a race against time: families that want to stay on their mountain property have a few weeks at most to acquire the shelter, food, fuel and bedding to ensure survival for themselves and their livestock.

The shelters are made of corrugated sheet metal and insulation material strapped onto a specially designed steel structure. The concept was introduced by Partner Aid International (PAI), a Swiss non-governmental organization. PAI is sourcing materials, tools and insulation for the project. The components can be reused in the construction of permanent shelters following the winter months.

“The second phase of the Habitat for Humanity response, but occurring simultaneously with the winter-shelter delivery, is establishing a Habitat building center oriented to handling the disaster response,” said Farhan Mall, who heads HFH Pakistan’s in-country staff. The building center will provide training and capacity building to enable numerous communities to rebuild their homes and their lives in the future.

More information will be available once partnership agreements are formalized.