Many Earthquake Survivors Still Live in Tents, as Reconstruction in Pakistan is Slow

More than eight months after the massive earthquake in northern Pakistan and the Pakistani portion of Kashmir, reconstruction has barely begun. The disaster left 3 million people homeless and destroyed 460,000 rural and 120,000 urban houses.

Many families still live in clusters of tents in suffocating summer heat, waiting for payments under a $2 billion government compensation plan to arrive, so they can rebuild. The government said it would pay about $3,000 for destroyed houses and $1,300 for damaged houses.

Since March, about two-thirds of the 300,000 people living in camps have begun to return home. But many people are still without payments, and the heavy monsoon rains arriving in July make most construction impossible.

Carlotta Gall, “8 Months After Quake, Little Relief for Some Pakistanis,” International Herald Tribune, 20 June 2006.