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World Bank to relax Pakistan rebuild demands

THE WORLD Bank is expected to relax demands that more than 500,000 homes destroyed in last years Pakistan earthquake must be rebuilt using concrete.
The bank which is funding $220 million in housing reconstruction insisted that grants of 200,000 rupees per household for rebuilding destroyed homes could only be given for concrete structures.'The World Bank has been insisting on concrete reconstruction but that is completely inappropriate for some people,' said Peter Sweetnam, programme director at NGO Mercy Corps, who has just returned from Pakistan.NCE understands that the World Bank is now preparing to relax the demand for concrete reconstruction and that the homeless will be allowed to rebuild their homes in 'more appropriate' timber and masonry that use simple earthquake resistance techniques such as steel reinforcement. People made homeless by the earthquake have already received a payment of 25,000 rupees towards reconstruction, but three further tranches of 25,000 rupees are being delayed because the payments are dependent on approved concrete construction of plinth, walls and roof.Reconstruction has also been hampered by continuing confusion on whether payments should be made to the householder or the landowner, said Sweetnam.Last year's earthquake killed 73,000 people, left 2.8 million people homeless and destroyed 570,000 houses (NCE 13 October 2005).To date the World Bank has committed £600M towards reconstruction but estimates that the country needs £4bn overall for long term reconstruction.

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