Significant decline in numbers of people in FATA who are food insecure

Published on 31 July 2017

ISLAMABAD – The food security situation of returned households to their place of origin in Pakistan’s FATA Agencies has improved significantly since 2014, according to a new report released today.

The report “Food Security and Livelihoods Assessment of Returned Households Residing in FATA” was launched today by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), under the leadership of the FATA Secretariat, indicating a consistent and significant drop in the total food insecurity rate in FATA between 2014 and 2017. The report was released at a ceremony held at the WFP Pakistan Office.

This report is a follow-up to the 2014 “Returning Home” assessment, and provides updated evidence regarding the food security, livelihoods and market situation in all seven FATA Agencies: Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, Orakzai, North Waziristan and South Waziristan. It finds that while in 2014, 44 percent of the population was defined as  food insecure – in 2017 only 24 percent are in the same situation, where they do not have access to or cannot afford food sufficient for their daily dietary and nutritional needs.

And while in 2014 five percent of people were considered severely food insecure – having a severely inadequate diet in terms of quality and quantity – now only one percent of the population is in such a serious situation. The percentage of people who were moderately food insecure dropped from 39 percent to 23 percent over the three year period.  
 
The improvement was particularly dramatic among female-headed households, with those defined as severely food-insecure decreasing from 19 percent to 0 percent and moderately food insecure households decreasing from 55 percent to 15 percent.

The reasons for the improvement are various: families faced fewer shocks ranging from natural disasters to illness among people and livestock, they had access to better housing, improved water and sanitation and increased security.  Some factors are a result of appropriate and timely food and cash assistance provided by various UN Agencies and partners to improve food security. Women and female-headed households are strongly encouraged to participate in assistance programmes.

“I congratulate the FATA Secretariat not only for the crucial coordination role they played, but also for their active engagement throughout this study,” said the WFP Country Director Finbarr Curran, “This report is evidence of the positive impact of the critical humanitarian and recovery support to displaced and returning families in the region that was provided under the leadership and vision of the FATA Secretariat”.

WFP supports displaced and returning families in FATA through a variety of models including general food distribution, and by support for livelihoods, education and nutrition. In 2016 alone, WFP provided over US$ 117 million of assistance to displaced and returning families.

Speaking at the event, Chief Guest Dr. Fida Muhammad Wazir, Additional Chief Secretary, FATA secretariat stated, “I thank the UN World Food Programme and other collaborating organizations for the commission and support to this significant study.”

In 2008, large-scale law and order operations in the tribal region resulted in millions of people being uprooted from their homes. Since 2014, there has been a positive improvement in security and with the government’s continued efforts, some 250,000 displaced families have returned, while some 50,000 families are still living away from their original homes. Such a large-scale return affects markets, the provision of basic services, livelihoods and food security.
This changing scenario requires an up-to-date and sound understanding of the situation to guide humanitarian organizations to design more appropriate and effective responses both for immediate humanitarian needs as well as for medium to longer term recovery.

This study was conducted from February to March 2017 and is a joint initiative by the UN World Food Programme, the Food Security Cluster, the FATA Bureau of Statistics, and the Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Unit under the leadership of the FATA Secretariat.
 
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in 80 countries.

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For more information please contact:
Mahira Afzal, WFP Islamabad, Mobile: +92 345 855 9333, mahira.afzal@wfp.org