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Pakistan: Humanitarian Response Plan 2008
In August 2008, overlapping crises compounded the impact of global soaring food prices on growing food insecurity in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Unusually heavy monsoon rains at the beginning of the month led to flash floods that had a significant impact on households in Peshawar district of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and in Rajanpur district of Punjab province. Provincial authorities reported that 200 000 people were affected by the flooding in NWFP, and a further 100 000 in Punjab province.
Throughout the month, renewed fighting between the Government and militant groups in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and in the Swat district of NWFP resulted in significant internal population displacements. Authorities in NWFP estimated that 260 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in the province – living with host families, in 33 official camps or in spontaneous settlements.
Many IDPs in the camps returned after the Government declared a ceasefire. However, most of those living with host communities have remained. The area is experiencing persistent insecurity and IDP numbers are therefore likely to change in the coming months. On 8 September 2008, the United Nations and its partners launched the 2008 Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan, which appeals for USD 55 million to assist approximately 400 000 people affected by these emergencies in the coming six months.
A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)-led assessment in the worst affected areas of Peshawar district found widespread damage to crops and livestock. Preliminary assessments indicated that 74 percent of the cultivated area was affected. Standing crops of sugarcane, maize, sorghum, vegetables and rice were damaged. In addition, an estimated 15 000 livestock were killed or are missing. However, most of the households impacted by the floods remain on their lands and are in urgent need of agricultural assistance to rapidly rebuild their livelihoods.
The floods and ongoing conflict have significantly affected agricultural production in Pakistan. The approaching rabi (winter) cropping season is critical for the lives, livelihoods and food security of rural households in NWFP in particular. The food deficient province has been heavily affected by supply shortfalls and the rising prices of basic food stuffs, particularly of wheat. This has been further exacerbated by an influx of IDPs into food stressed areas. Both IDPs and host families require urgent agricultural assistance.
As lead agency for the agriculture sector, FAO is seeking USD 6 million to assist 30 000 households affected by the conflict and floods. The proposed project “Emergency crop production, livestock and poultry support to populations affected by armed conflict in NWFP and by flash floods in NWFP and Punjab province” has two main objectives.
In order to assist 15 000 conflict-affected IDPs and host communities, the project aims to ensure food security and enhanced resilience among poor, food insecure and vulnerable host community households and to sustain returning IDPs by assisting them to restore their agriculture-based livelihoods in their areas of origin by restocking poultry, supporting livestock and distributing inputs critical for local agricultural production.
As part of its support to 15 000 flood-affected households, the project plans to assist the worst flood-affected households to rapidly resume agricultural production and restore livelihoods by restocking lost poultry, supporting surviving livestock and distributing inputs critical for local agricultural production. The Central Emergency Response Fund has already contributed USD 399 994 to the project. FAO is therefore seeking a further USD 5 600 000 to support the resumption of livelihoods for 30 000 households in Pakistan.