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Pakistan To Relocate Town Destroyed By Earthquake

The 7.6-magnitude quake killed more than 73,000 people and displaced about 3.5 million last October in Pakistani Kashmir and North West Frontier Province. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) Apr 03, 2006
Pakistani authorities have decided to relocate a northern town shattered by last October's massive earthquake because it is too dangerous to rebuild in the same location, officials said Sunday. "The quake-hit town of Balakot will be rebuilt at a new location," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid told AFP.

In the light of seismic studies, agencies have recommended against rebuilding on the original site, he said. A site for building the new city had not yet been identified, Rashid said.

Balakot, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Islamabad, was home to some 300,000 before the October 8 quake destroyed it.

Some 600 hectares (1,482 acres) in northern Balakot district was unsuitable for reconstruction due to seismic risks, the director general of the provincial earthquake reconstruction authority, Jamsheed-ul Hassan, said in a statement.

"The land has become faulty and the area has been declared as a red zone and any investment in construction in these areas is not advisable," Hassan said.

He said his authority declared Balakot a red zone in the light of seismic reports submitted by experts from Turkey, China and Norway.

Some 30,000 people would have to be shifted to a new settlement for which the authority has proposed the name of Model Balakot city, he said.

The 7.6-magnitude quake killed more than 73,000 people and displaced about 3.5 million last October in Pakistani Kashmir and North West Frontier Province.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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