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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.

First Published: Apr 02, 2006 14:29 IST