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. Pakistan to relocate 55,000 earthquake survivors

Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Muzaffarabad, Pakistan (AFP) Jun 3, 2006
Some 55,000 earthquake survivors will be relocated due to the danger posed by monsoon landslides in Pakistani Kashmir, officials said Saturday.

"A strategy is being evolved to relocate some 50 to 55 thousand people from areas prone to landslides before the start of monsoon season," the region's top administrator Kashif Murtaza told AFP.

Murtaza said that 18 villages were likely to be affected.

The government would work with the United Nations and other aid agencies get the people out of harm's way, he said.

"It is a big challenge to relocate the most vulnerable to safer places before the monsoon starts," Murtaza said.

Depending on how many people need to be resettled the government may have to buy land near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, he added.

The government already pays 25,000 jobless survivors a monthly benefit of 3,000 rupees (50 dollars) under a six-month grant programme.

It has also paid 4.27 billion rupees (71 million dollars) to 58,000 survivors whose houses were damaged by the earthquake.

The 7.6 magnitude quake on October 8, 2005 claimed more than 73,000 lives, seriously injured nearly 70,000 people and left 3.3 million homeless in Pakistan. More than 1,000 also died in Indian Kashmir.

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