Liaqat Hussain


Post-Disaster Housing Reconstruction in Pakistan


Liaqat worked as a civil servant in Pakistan for 20 years. In this post he was responsible for search and rescue, early recovery operations and served as programme manager for reconstruction in Kashmir after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. He completed his MSc in Risk focusing on natural hazards. For his MSc, Liaqat was trained in both the physical and social sciences and is interested in applying what he has learned in Pakistan, which experiences a wide range of environmental hazards including earthquakes, flash floods and avalanches. There is currently a lack of well-trained personnel in disaster risk management in Kashmir and the MSc programme has prepared Liaqat to help improve disaster management in Pakistan. Liaqat is now doing a PhD in the Department of Geography at Durham University on housing reconstruction approaches in post-disaster situations throughout the world.


For his PhD project, Liaqat assessed the success of the Pakistan government’s approach to housing reconstruction, which is ‘owner-driven’ where home owners recovering from a disaster are directly involved in the reconstruction process. For his MSc dissertation, Liaqat learned that government housing reconstruction after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake worked well for people living in rural areas, but not as well for those living in urban areas, leaving many people without homes to this day. Liaqat’s research will investigate why this was the case, while also evaluating other approaches to post-disaster housing reconstruction.

Housing is of utmost importance to people attempting to recover from disaster. In many cases private housing is the worst affected by earthquakes. Liaquat focused on finding out how housing becomes even more important to people’s lives after a disaster occurs. There is currently a lack of academic research on the owner-driven housing reconstruction approach used by government, although the intervention was unique and never implemented before. Many lessons were given during the aftermath of the earthquake in terms of management and reconstruction.

Liquat evaluated the owner-driven approach used in Kashmir to understand how it can be transferred to other regions of Pakistan and different parts of the world, along with its long-term sustainability. Recovering from disaster is also a matter of housing design particularly the construction of earthquake resistant homes in rural areas. Liaqat also looked at how the owner-driven housing approach addresses the vulnerability of communities to earthquakes and how they can recover from future disaster events.