Shelter – a New Life for Quake Survivors

Umar Rahim, 63, travels two hours on foot and then four hours in a jeep to join one hundred and five heads of households from Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Kala Dhaka. Along with everyone else, he’s standing in the rain, waiting to receive shelter kits being distributed by IOM in Thakot, 25 kilometers from Batagram District of NWFP.

Umar is a resident of Kala Dhaka’s Getto village that is 90 kilometers from Batagram and 65 kilometers from Thakot, a town situated along the Karakorum Highway. His 10-member family survived but many extended relatives perished. Those that survived are living in tents beside their partially damaged houses, as every house was rendered uninhabitable.

“The shelter kit is hope for a new life for the people who have been spending a miserable life after the earthquake. It will provide a solid shelter to my family until we build a new house,” says Umar who belongs to Basi Khel tribe, one of the biggest tribes in Kala Dhaka according to their population and geography.

Life continues to be hard for Umar’s family. Two sons moved to Karachi to find work and send money back to their family. But their wages as a rickshaw driver and unskilled laborer are not enough, and both sons plan to ask their bosses for loans to help feed and shelter their family. The compensation checks the family had been relying on from the government remain un-cashed and a source of frustration. They have large VOID markings on them as the local banks have refused to cash them.

In Thakot, IOM will be distributing shelter kits provided by Norway through the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) for 600 quake-affected families of Kala Dhaka through its implementing partner, ACTED. A shelter kit includes construction tools, corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets, bucket, mattress, kitchen set and four jackets for children and adults.

After the distribution of shelter kits among the people of Getto village, people in Bak Tooni, Fakir Abad and Pisni villages of Kala Dhaka will receive the aid material to build temporary shelters.

“IOM has done something which no one else in the world can do for us. People of Kala Dhaka have become without hope, but these shelter kits have boosted the morale of the people. We know that someone is here who can help us in this time of need,” says Umar.