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 carried out his PhD in the Department of Geography at Durham University on housing reconstruction approaches in post-disaster situations throughout the world.

Since graduating with his PhD, Liaqat has been posted as Secretary Services and General Administration in the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He is also working on the disaster scenario of Pakistan (a PPT presentation on different types of environmental and human-induced disasters that this part of the world is prone to). As he says:"I hope it would enable the decision makers and implementers to understand and deal with the future disasters in the country. Apart from that I have delivered lectures in the Kashmir Institute of Management (KIM) to the in-service training officers of the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Civil Services Academy, Lahore on Post-2005 earthquake housing reconstruction and present status of seismically safe construction".

Liaqat's reflections on study in Durham

"As regards my stay in Durham and working with the Foundation, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I learnt a lot during this period. It was a life changing experience for myself and my family. Due to the scholarship awarded by the Foundation, I was able to transform my experience of the 2005 earthquake into an academic work. It helped me understand, academically and scientifically, the most deadly disaster of history and how to avoid colossal damages in future that it caused. What could be a better way to honour the memory of your late husband? I hope and wish that the research that I conducted would help, both locally and internationally, in understanding the causes of disaster vulnerability and how to minimise disaster losses. At personal level, my PhD is a great source of satisfaction and achievement for me apart from a boost for my career."

"Our stay in the UK was a wonderful experience. It helped us understand the British way of life. Our stay in the UK was particularly eventful for my children; they experienced the British way of life and education system, they made many friends there, and visited so many places. They still cherish those memories."


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.