Monday, December 11, 2023

UN expresses concern over food security as Pak floods threaten Afghanistan food supply

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The United Nations raised alarm on Friday about the growing flood situation in Pakistan, which threatens the food supply to crisis-hit Afghanistan.

According to media sources, the disastrous floods in Pakistan would put significant stress on efforts to bring food into neighbouring Afghanistan to alleviate its horrific humanitarian crisis.
According to the UN World Food Programme, much of the food supplies were transported by road through Pakistan, a network that has been seriously damaged by the greatest floods in the country’s history.

“We have obviously focused on the needs of the people in Pakistan right now, but the repercussions of what we’re witnessing here reach far further,” said Chris Kaye, WFP’s Pakistan country director.

“We are getting quite worried about overall food security, not only in Pakistan in the short and medium term, but also for what it would mean for operations in Afghanistan,” Kaye added.

A large portion of its food is imported through Karachi’s port. “Pakistan is an important supply route into Afghanistan,” he added.

“With washed-away highways, it provides us with a significant logistical difficulty,” Kaye noted.

“Nearly the last year, WFP has purchased over 320,000 metric tonnes to support operations in Afghanistan. The floods in Pakistan will severely limit such capabilities.”

According to Geo News, he stated that rebuilding agricultural productivity in Pakistan to feed its own people and continue delivering food to Afghanistan was a “big concern.”

Another difficulty was that Pakistan’s wheat crop was being kept in waterlogged locations, and “a considerable amount of the wheat has been swept away.”

He described Pakistan’s food security situation as “severe” even before the floods, with 43% of the population food insecure and the nation placing 92 out of 116 on the Global Hunger Index.

Since June, monsoon rains have drowned a third of Pakistan, killing over a thousand people and unleashing devastating floods that have washed away swaths of important crops and damaged or destroyed over a million houses.

Climate change, which is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather throughout the world, has been blamed by officials.

Afghanistan’s 38 million people are facing a dire humanitarian crisis, which has been exacerbated by the freezing of billions of dollars in assets and the cessation of international help since the Taliban seized power a year ago.

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