Pakistan to relocate town destroyed by earthquake
Pakistani authorities have decided to relocate a northern town shattered by last October's massive earthquake.india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 14:29 IST
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 on Sunday.
"The quake-hit town of Balakot will be rebuilt at a new location," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said.
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 kilometres (90 miles) north of Islamabad, was home to some 3,00,000 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.