Plan to Rebuild After the Floods

Oct 18, 2010
The Felix Baltistan Foundation is still working on the plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Talis, in Baltistan in northern Pakistan, a town hard hit by monsoon rains in August 2010. To this effect, it has been given donations of more than €50,000 from the Basque population. Although these donations are extremely helpful, they are insufficient to undertake all the necessary plans to help the victims.
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The Felix Baltistan Foundation is still working on the plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Talis, in Baltistan in northern Pakistan, a town hard hit by monsoon rains in August 2010. To this effect, it has been given donations of more than €50,000 from the Basque population. Although these donations are extremely helpful, they are insufficient to undertake all the necessary plans to help the victims.

After an initial immediate emergency response when food and tents were delivered to the affected population with the proceeds, the work then began with the reconstruction of the 35 houses that were destroyed by avalanches of water, rocks and soil.

Talis Reconstruction Plan

The plan will consist of two phases, first to attack now before the snow hits in December and a second phase after the winter. For the first phase FBF has raised €50,000, but to undertake the second phase the funds are not yet available.

The first phase will be the rebuilding of the first floor of the 35 damaged homes before winter, whilst ensuring the food security of affected families until Spring. The second phase intends to carry out the construction of the second floor of each house.

FBF will assume the cost of reconstruction, but the management and monitoring will be done by the local community. A Reconstruction Committee has been created for this purpose which will be made up of the inhabitants of Talis, the Felix Baltistan Machulo Iñurrategi Foundation (FIFBM) and local authorities. Ortzi Akizu will coordinate the reconstruction on behalf of FBF – he personally experienced the disaster in Talis before he returned to the Basque Country.

In addition, the reconstruction will be used to make improvements in new homes, such as the addition of a septic tank, a bathroom, running water, insulation of housing over the barn, a concrete floor or similar facility that allows clean condition and the possibility, if feasible, to include a greenhouse or micro ACS (hot water) solar. Wood and labour to do the rebuilding will be provided by the community of Talis.

This first phase of reconstruction will take place before the end of the year, but as mentioned, to undertake the second phase of reconstruction in 2011, at least double the funds raised so far will be needed.

Baltistan, The Forgotten Pakistan

In late August FBF, together with the Italian NGO, CESVI, made a request for reconstruction aid to the office of UN humanitarian aid, OCHA. The request was denied on the grounds that Baltistan is not a priority area. This denial highlights yet again the neglect suffered by these isolated people, who appear to be insignificant to both the State and the international community, who both make decisions and act according to an arbitrary criteria based on the size of the population or its political relevance.

The whole of Pakistan has suffered a catastrophe of historic magnitude, which has left a fifth of its surface under water and approximately 2,000 people dead. In this context the situation in Baltistan may appear less critical, however, while the rest of the country enjoys warm temperatures throughout the winter, in Baltistan the temperature will soon drop to more than 20 degrees below zero. Therefore, although the death toll is currently lower than in the rest of the country and water no longer floods the land, the devastation of farmland and homes is, if anything, even more dangerous and still threatens the survival of its inhabitants in the coming winter.

It is important to remember that, in Baltistan, the population must survive on subsistence farming in this arid, high mountain region. The extremes of weather: 30ºC in summer and -20ºC in winter, mean that the land provides a single crop each year, mainly wheat. The only addition to this is the limited harvest from the fruit trees and the produce from the few cattle they possess.

To send help to Talis enter these bank accounts putting Emergency Talis.

Bank: Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, BBK

Swift code (BIC):    BASKES2BXXX

IBAN code:   ES40 2095 0000 7191 0352 2251