Afghanistan: UN agency begins reconstruction work of 3,000 houses in Shomali

Afghanistan: UN agency begins reconstruction work of 3,000 houses in Shomali

With the coming winter adding urgency to Afghanistan's need for homes, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has begun work reconstructing 3,000 houses in the Shomali area of the country to provide shelter for some 21,000 people.

According to a spokesman for the UN mission in Afghanistan, HABITAT's project, begun earlier this month in consultation with the Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation, has been carefully organized around the full participation of the local communities.

HABITAT has also set up local workshops with cash donations of $2,000 to enable craftsmen to buy material and employ apprentice workmen, while serving their own communities. This project is able to operate thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Italian Government, according to the spokesman.

"There are indications that following the beginning of work, returning refugee families that were staying with friends and relatives in Kabul have begun returning to [the Shomali] area," spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said. "Work is expected to take a further two months to provide shelter before the winter sets in."