ISLAMABAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun food distributions to tens of thousands of people affected by monsoon floods in Sindh province, with plans to gear up operations to reach the most severely affected areas of Balochistan.
A one-month food ration is being distributed to some 10,000 families in Jacobabad district of Sindh, where some areas are under 2.5 metres (8 feet) of water, drawing upon limited available stocks of food. WFP plans to reach a further 10,000 families in Balochistan later this week.
With road access limited due to the flood waters, WFP has deployed 16 motorboats to reach some of the worst affected communities.
However, any assistance beyond this first phase will require additional funding from donors and WFP is seeking urgent donations of US$15 million.
“We could scale up our response to reach up to 250,000 families – that’s 1.7 million people,” said WFP Pakistan Country director Jean-Luc Siblot. “But that would mean using food stocks earmarked for relief to the displaced population in the northwest of the country and these would have to be replenished by December – that means funding is needed now.”
The WFP food basket consists of dietary staples of fortified wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and iodized salt, as well as High Energy Biscuits and specialized ready-to-use supplementary food for small children.
Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has estimated that up to 4.5 million people have been affected by severe flooding in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, following heavy rains earlier this month. However, not all of these may require food assistance. A Multi-sector Initial Rapid Assessment has been carried out in the affected areas and the results, expected shortly, will give a clearer indication of the needs of those affected.
The disaster has already caused the deaths of up to 400 people, destroyed houses and hundreds of thousands of acres of crops.
Many of the districts affected, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, were already struggling to recover from the floods of 2010 and 2011, with communities particularly vulnerable to the effects of this latest shock.
For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Robin Lodge, WFP/Islamabad, +92 51 8312330, Mob: +92 346 8564304
Amjad Jamal, WFP/Islamabad, +92 51 8312270, Mob: +92 300 850 0989
Amena Kamaal, WFP/Islamabad, Mob: +92300 8564576
Marcus Prior, WFP/Bangkok, Tel. +66 2 659 8616, Mob: +66 81 701 9208