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Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan 2010
Beginning in late July 2010, Pakistan experienced record monsoon rains, resulting in the most severe flooding in living history. While damage assessments are ongoing, over 14 million people are estimated to have been affected by flash floods and riverine floods thus far.
To date, Khyber Paktunkhwa suffered the most severe damage, receiving many times the province’s average annual rainfall in less than a week. Other impacted provinces include Baluchistan, Punjab, Baltistan and to a lesser extent Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit. Additional flooding is expected in the southern province of Sindh, as rainwater from the highlands feeds into southward flowing rivers.
Key roads have been damaged or destroyed, and some districts are accessible only by water or air transportation, further complicating relief efforts. Some provinces have lost electricity and lack potable water, sanitation and health care. Millions have lost their homes and livelihood and require emergency support. The Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) was launched on 11 August and seeks USD 460 million to support Government-led efforts to respond to the needs of flood-affected families during the immediate relief period. Humanitarian partners will focus on the most vulnerable groups.
Particular attention will be paid to food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and shelter. The plan will be revised in one month as the situation evolves, access improves and further assessment results become available. The revision will also incorporate strategies to support the early recovery needs of the affected population, including key support to agriculture-based livelihoods.
Challenges facing agriculture
Pakistan’s agriculture sector has suffered severe losses and requires immediate assistance. Millions of hectares of standing crops have been washed away. Seed stocks have been lost, compromising the September/October wheat planting season and compounding the consequences of the disaster.
Tens of thousands of animals have been lost and surviving animals will die if feed and veterinary support is not provided rapidly. Livestock is an invaluable asset to rural families in terms of meat and milk production and draught power. Saving surviving livestock is a time-sensitive challenge, prioritized under the PIFERP. Initial funding requirements in response to this need stand at USD 5.7 million. Livestock activities currently prioritized under the PIFERP include:
- distribution of emergency feed and essential veterinary supplies (e.g. vaccines, de-wormers);
- provision of animal shelters.
In the coming days, the distribution of critical livestock inputs such as feed and veterinary supplies will be essential to avoid further livestock losses; and in the coming weeks, providing farming inputs and rehabilitating/cleaning irrigation infrastructure will be paramount to quickly restore food production capacity. It is crucial to ensure that Pakistan’s main staple crop, wheat, is planted in time for the Rabi season, beginning in September. If this season is missed, farmers will be unable to plant again until April/May 2011, signifying the loss of two harvests.
Increasing agricultural needs
The Agriculture Cluster, led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has been active on the ground since 2009. Its Members are conducting detailed assessments in the most flood-affected areas to identify critical needs and formulate the Agriculture Cluster Response Plan (ACRP) for the rapid recovery of rural livelihoods. The ACRP will be the basis for planning the agriculture sector response of the revised PIFERP. Given the extensive damage to agricultural means of production – land, inputs, infrastructure and livestock – funding requirements for the sector are expected to rise significantly in the revised PIFERP, which will be issued in one month.