Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called upon the government to prepare special housing policy for the 45 million people living in the coastal areas where they are most vulnerable in case of national disaster.

The Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) has reconstructed 388,949 houses as per seismic resistant designs and provided Rs 64.75 billions to the victims as the rural housing subsidy, said Lieutenant General Sajjad Akram, Deputy Chairman, Erra here on Thursday.

Several lakh people living in the coastal areas of Bhola district are highly vulnerable to cyclones and tidal surges as the shelters constructed the purpose are too inadequate to accommodate the large number of people during natural disasters.

Thousands of people made homeless by Italy's worst earthquake in three decades will be moved from tent villages into more permanent housing before autumn, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday.

At twilight on Monday, seven wooden coffins lay on the ground under a gnarled tree in Onna, a tiny village eight miles from here. A woman was slumped in grief over one, while people comforted her. After a few moments, five men strained to lift four coffins into a funeral van.

According to the year 2000 statistics there have been only 21 widows hit this amount has now increased more than ten folds, said Suneeka Perera addressing the journalists in Hambantota district at Chandrika Hotel Tissamaharama.

It was organised by the Hambantota branch of CARE International.

She said that the ten year period from 1975-1985 has been declared the World Women's decade.

Sailing through

Despite being located in the seismically highly vulnerable region, Uttarakhand shows an elaborate tradition of constructing multistoried houses. Both the local dialects of the region (Kumaoni and Garhwali) have unique words for identifying four different floors of a building. This suggests common occurrence of multistoried structures in the region. Rajgarhi area, Uttarkashi District has a large number of intact multistoried

Crumbling schools in earthquake-prone Himalayas The afternoon of May 12 will haunt memories of parents of school going children of Sichuan Province in China for years. Thousands of children perished under the collapsed buildings of their schools as an earthquake measuring more than 7.9 on the Richter scale jolted the province. Photographs of the collapsed school buildings bear ample testimony

Authors of a report (April 19) on post-tsunami shelter and settlement strategy of the Tamil Nadu government respond to a rejoinder by C V Sankar (May 17), officer on special duty for relief and rehabilitation.