ISLAMABAD – The World Food Programme has today started food distributions to 35,000 families hit by catastrophic flooding in Northwestern Pakistan, which has also affected parts of neighbouring Afghanistan.
Distributions of emergency food supplies began on Sunday to 3,000 families in three of the worst affected districts – Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda – with the assistance of WFP’s strong network of NGO partners in the region. The recent monsoon rains are reported to be the heaviest in living memory.
“We are deeply saddened to hear that so many people who have already suffered terribly in recent years are now seeing their lives washed away,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran from the organization’s Rome headquarters. “We stand with them as they deal with this enormous shock. WFP is mobilizing every possible resource to make sure their needs are met as quickly as is humanly possible.”
In support of national efforts, WFP Pakistan plans to assist up to 150,000 families over the next two to three months as access to the affected areas improves. With water levels still high and many key bridges destroyed, access remains limited in many places.
WFP is assisting the government’s disaster management authorities with assessments in three of the worst affected districts, and a joint aerial assessment of the Peshawar valley was being conducted on Sunday. Assessments are also taking place in affected areas of Afghanistan.
Floodwaters have also caused significant damage to WFP warehouses in Northwestern Pakistan. Although it is too early to know its full extent, WFP is extremely concerned at possible losses, as warehouses in the affected area contain significant food stocks for WFP operations across the border in Afghanistan, as well as for Pakistan.
WFP is already assisting over one million internally displaced people and returnees with emergency rations in Northwestern Pakistan, as well as supporting an additional 2.7 million crisis-affected people. Urgent additional support is now required from donors to continue this work, while rapidly mounting the new emergency response to flood victims.