ADB opens office in Muzaffarabad for quake relief work
Apr 25, 2007 - 10:30:03 PM

Islamabad, April 25 - The Asian Development Bank - Wednesday opened a fully staffed office in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, to coordinate its assistance in rebuilding the quake-hit region.

The move comes as the Manila-based development bank gears up to approve the disbursement of $400 million in new funds for projects that will address the needs of the quake-affected area very flexibly, according to a statement issued here by ADB.

ADB said it has already disbursed $183.8 million, with 72 million being used for rebuilding schools and other education projects, 69.3 million for reconstructing roads and other transport projects, 27.5 million for the health sector and 14.9 million for the power sector.

Until now, the ADB's quake-relief work has been coordinated from its Resident Mission in Pakistani capital of Islamabad, some 110 km away from Muzaffarabad, and the establishment of the new Extended Mission office is the first of its kind for the bank in Pakistan.

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the international Richter scale in October 2005 hit northern Pakistan, leaving over 73,000 people dead and some 3.5 million displaced in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province - and Pakistani Kashmir.

According to the statement, Muzaffarabad was chosen as the site of the ADB office because of its close proximity and access to all five earthquake-affected districts of NWFP and the four districts of Pakistani Kashmir.

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