ADB releases $200 mln quake survivors

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a $200 million loan to Pakistan to help rebuild homes for hundreds of thousands of people affected by the October 2005 earthquake, the bank said on Wednesday.
The amount was the first tranche of a $400 million concessional loan approved by its board of directors in June, the ADB said in a statement.
The second tranche of $200 million would be released in six months on completion of performance targets jointly agreed by the Pakistan government and the bank.
The ADB committed a total $1 billion in loans and grants during an international donor conference held in Islamabad in November 2005 for reconstruction and rehabilitation of quake-hit northern Pakistan.
The statement said the loan was intended to help Pakistan meet a dealine of May 2008 for completing reconstruction of 585,000 rural homes compliant with seismic safety requirements.
“The winter of 2007 will be the last for most displaced people before they move into new houses,” said Peter Fedon, ADB’s country director.
The October 8, 2005 earthquake killed more than 73,000 and made 3.5 million homeless in occupied Kashmir and North West Frontier Province.

Copyright Reuters, 2007