19 February 2004 - Using earthquake-resistant technology, United Nations agencies will help Iran reconstruct the historic Silk Road city of Bam after the devastating December quake that claimed more than 43,000 lives and destroyed homes, schools, offices and other infrastructure, it was announced today.
The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), which sent a two-member assessment team to Bam from 5 to14 February to review how to address shelter needs, said the Iranian government is now poised to launch a reconstruction programme on the basis of a revised master plan.
Technology for earthquake resistant structures will be integrated through community consultation and training programmes in association with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Islamic Revolutionary Housing Foundation, and in partnership with Bam Municipality, UN-HABITAT added.
It is estimated that up to 140 families can be assisted through a pilot phase, which, if successful, would be extended to a larger community. The project, to be implemented by UN-HABITAT, is expected to last six months, starting 1 March and costing $400,000.
Bam, about 1,000 kilometres southeast of the capital Tehran with a population of some 93,000, was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.3 points on the Richter scale. The disaster destroyed 45,000 homes, underground irrigation canals, and a large part of the city's 2,000 year-old citadel, one of the world's largest mud-brick structures.
With aftershocks frequent, the city is covered in rubble, and those families whose houses were not completely destroyed are afraid to return, while others remain too traumatized, according to UN-HABITAT. But with the support of least 75 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international agencies and UN humanitarian organizations, the government has been able to undertake relief operations.
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