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Pakistan Floods Rapid Response Plan 2011
Severe monsoon rains have triggered floods in southern Pakistan of unprecedented scale, both in terms of volume and spatial coverage. Despite forecasts of below-average rainfall, heavy downpours began in mid-August, engulfing all 23 districts of Sindh and adjoining areas of northeastern Balochistan province.
Hardest hit is Sindh, where agricultural canals and drainage routes overflowed and exacerbated flood impacts. As of 21 September, the province recorded an affected population of more than 8 million, 361 deaths and nearly 1.5 million damaged or destroyed homes.
Continuing rains and damaged infrastructure impede delivery of aid. Flood waters are likely to stand for an extensive period due to poorly maintained infrastructure and drainage routes.
The Pakistan Floods Rapid Response Plan 2011 was launched on 18 September to support Government-led response efforts. Appealing humanitarian agencies seek nearly USD 356.7 million to address critical needs in Sindh and Balochistan provinces in the sectors of food security; water, sanitation and hygiene; health; shelter and non-food items. The Plan will be revised in November.
Challenges facing agriculture and livelihoods
The floods have triggered a severe agricultural emergency, placing at risk some 70 percent of people in affected areas who depend on the sector (inclusive of crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry) for food and income.
Without the immediate supply of feed and veterinary supplies, livestock losses could escalate dramatically. Nearly 79 000 livestock have already perished, depriving families of a vital source of meat, milk, income and draught/tillage power. The survival and health of millions of animals in flood-affected areas are at severe risk due to the loss of fodder stocks and animal feed, and increased exposure to disease and parasite infestation.
Family food/seed stocks, standing crops and farming inputs have been destroyed at a devastating time. The floods struck just as crops planted in spring were ready for harvest and within weeks of planting winter crops including wheat – Pakistan’s main staple food. Over 0.84 million hectares of standing crops – including rice, vegetables, cotton and sugar cane – have been damaged or destroyed. Nearly 20 400 irrigation structures have been submerged – a major concern as 80 percent of wheat in Sindh is irrigated.
There is a limited window of opportunity to address the time-critical needs of farmers and herders before losses are further compounded. Delayed action will worsen food security, public health threats, inability of farmers to pay off debts, human and animal displacement, and reliance on external food aid.
FAO can prevent further livestock deaths and missed planting opportunities with the timely support of donors. Co-leading the Food Security Cluster with the World Food Programme, FAO seeks USD 18.9 millionto:
- Keep surviving livestock alive, productive and healthy, by reaching affected herders with life-saving feed rations and de-wormer and vaccination supplies.
- Ensure planting where conditions – particularly water recession rates – permit, through the provision of wheat, sunflower, vegetable and fodder seeds, fertilizers, as well as irrigation/drainage repair through cash-for-work schemes.