A man helps unload a shipment of supplementary plumpy, a specialised food product designed to protect young children from malnutrition. Copyright: WFP/Marco Frattini
As Pakistan continues to reel from a disastrous wave of monsoon flooding, WFP’s operation to bring emergency food aid to six million people a month is being extended in time and expanded so as to help long-term recovery. Further assistance from donors is needed.
ROME – WFP on Friday urged donors to provide additional funds to meet the urgent needs in Pakistan and to help build a bridge between emergency food assistance and long-term recovery in Pakistan. The food operation is being extended from three to 12 months and from January special programmes will be launched that use food assistance to help rebuild communities.
“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.”
Scaling up fast
WFP has been streaming emergency humanitarian assistance into Pakistan since the beginning of August and has so far received US$103 million. The budget required for the new emergency food relief operation through to July 2011 is now USD $600 million.
WFP aims to provide emergency food assistance to an average of 6 million people each month while transitioning towards recovery activities, such as programmes that provide people with cash and food in return for work on projects to rebuild their communities.
“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 roads and bridges across Pakistan, making ground travel to many areas virtually impossible. In addition, floodwaters have submerged at least 17 million acres of cropland in the KhyberPakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces.
Road to recovery
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 the Pakistan government and NGOs are also providing food assistance.
In addition to providing food to families, WFP is also setting up a specialised feeding programme targeting small children, and pregnant and nursing mothers—who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of hunger and malnutrition.