ROME –The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today urged donors to provide additional financial support to meet urgent needs and help build the bridge between emergency food assistance and long term recovery in Pakistan.
“No-one could have predicted the scale and enormity of this catastrophe where women and children are facing a dangerous downwards spiral of hunger and malnutrition," said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. "We need to scale-up now and we need to scale-up quickly.”
WFP has been streaming emergency humanitarian assistance into Pakistan since the beginning of August and has so far received US$103 million towards the US$600 million budget required to fund an emergency food relief operation through to July 2011.
WFP now aims to provide emergency food assistance to an average of 6 million people each month while transitioning towards early recovery activities - such as food for work and cash for work programmes to restore livelihoods and rehabilitate damaged land, irrigation systems and agricultural infrastructure.
“The road to recovery will be long and arduous and Pakistan will need all the help it can get to build back from this disaster,” said Sheeran. “Food security is pivotal to recovery and now, as the floodwaters begin to recede, we urgently need additional resources,” she said, adding that WFP is voluntarily funded, and relies on annual contributions for all of its operations.
The unprecedented monsoon floods have devastated infrastructure across Pakistan and washed away thousands of roads, making ground travel to many affected areas virtually impossible. Hundreds of bridges have been destroyed and floodwaters have submerged at least 17 million acres of cropland in Punjab, KPK and Sindh provinces. Markets have also been severely disrupted; limited food is available in flood zones and food prices in some areas have soared, further compromising people’s ability to feed their families.
WFP estimates that more than 10 million people need immediate food assistance. WFP will aim to reach the majority of those affected, while government and non-governmental organisations are also providing vital food assistance. The worst-hit are small holder farmers and unskilled labourers and vulnerable groups, such as women and children.
As well as general food distributions, under the expanded relief operation, WFP is putting in place a targeted supplementary feeding programme for infants and pregnant and breastfeeding women and emergency school meals programmes. Early recovery activities will focus on restoring livelihoods through food- and cash-for-work programmes. A significant part of WFP’s work in helping small farmers will be implemented in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
For Further Information:
Natasha Scripture WFP/Islamabad, Mob: +92 346 856 3461
Jackie Dent, WFP/Islamabad, Mob: +92 346 8563418
Amjad Jamal, WFP/Islamabad, Mob: +92 300 850 0989
Marcus Prior, WFP/Bangkok, Mob: + 66 (0)81 701 9208
Gregory Barrow, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2330, Mob. +39 348 1325018