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5.7 million Pakistan flood victims to face food crisis

By MUNIR AHMED, Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United Nations humanitarian agency is warning that some 5.7 million Pakistani flood survivors will face a serious food crisis in the next three months, as the death toll from the deluge rose Monday.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority reported that floods triggered by abnormally heavy monsoon rains have killed 1,695 people, affected 33 million, damaged more than 2 million homes and displaced hundreds of thousands now living in tents. or improvised houses.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its latest report on Saturday said the current floods are expected to exacerbate food insecurity in Pakistan and said 5.7 million people in the flood-affected areas will face a food crisis. between September and November.

Even before the floods, according to the World Health Organization, 16% of the population lived in moderate or severe food insecurity.

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However, the Pakistani government insists there is no immediate food supply concern as wheat stocks are sufficient for the next harvest and the government is importing more.

The UN agency said in a tweet Monday that the agency and other partners have increased their response to the floods, delivering aid to 1.6 million people directly affected by the floods.

OCHA said outbreaks of waterborne and other diseases are on the rise in Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces, where flooding has caused the most damage since mid-June.

Various countries and UN agencies have sent more than 131 aid flights to survivors, but many complain that they have received little or are still waiting for help.

The UN humanitarian agency also said in its report on Saturday that the rains in Baluchistan and Sindh have decreased substantially over the past week as temperatures began to decline ahead of winter.

“Normal conditions prevail in most districts of Baluchistan, while in Sindh, the Indus River flows normally,” OCHA said. Overall, he added, in 18 of Sindh’s 22 districts, flood levels had receded by at least 34% and in some districts by as much as 78%.

The OCHA report also highlighted the ordeal of flood survivors, saying many continue to live in “unsanitary conditions in temporary shelters, often with limited access to basic services, compounding the risk of a major health crisis.” public”.

He said pregnant women are being treated in temporary camps where possible, and nearly 130,000 pregnant women are in urgent need of health services.

“Even before the floods, Pakistan had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Asia, and the situation is likely to deteriorate,” he said.

The UN should issue a revised appeal seeking an additional $800 million from the international community to respond to the growing life-saving needs of Pakistani flood survivors. The UN said last week that “food is being delivered to vulnerable families; however, it is still not enough to meet people’s nutritional needs.”

Pakistan says the floods caused around $30 billion in damage to its economy.

The floods washed away thousands of kilometers of roads, destroyed 440 bridges and disrupted rail traffic.

Pakistan Railways said it has started to restore train service from Sindh to other cities after repairing some of the flood-damaged tracks.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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