Revised Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan 2010
Over the course of seven weeks, flooding in Pakistan has affected over 20 million people across 160 000 km2. The record monsoon rains caused rivers to overflow and flash floods to surge from northwest to central and southern Pakistan, where in Sindh province flood waves continue. Thus far, an estimated 12.4 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
The duration and magnitude of the crisis have generated humanitarian needs of unprecedented scale. To date, the floods have claimed 1 781 lives, damaged or destroyed over 1.9 million homes and left millions of people without the basic supplies and assets to ensure survival or recovery. Losses to standing crops, stored seed, irrigation, livestock, fishery assets and forested areas have severely threatened agriculture – the livelihood of 80 percent of the affected population. Social services have been gravely affected, impeding access to water, health care, sanitation and education.
Extensive damage has been caused to key infrastructure such as roads and irrigation channels, as well as dikes and embankments which serve as protective structures to prevent reduce the risk of floods. The humanitarian community has been working to support Government-led efforts to address the most critical needs of the affected population. The Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response plan was launched on 11 August to mobilize immediate support. With increased access allowing assessments of the affected areas, the Response Plan was revised on 17 September to reflect a more comprehensive and updated account of needs and required funding for relief and early recovery interventions over a 12-month period.
Challenges facing agriculture
The need for agricultural assistance in flood-affected areas is pressing and immense. Many farmers and herders have lost a lifetime of work, generations’ worth of savings and the resources to resume their livelihoods. The floods have damaged at least 2.4 million ha of cultivatable land including standing crops (e.g. rice, maize, sugarcane, cotton), destroyed 0.5-0.6 million tonnes of family wheat stocks and killed 1.2 million livestock and 6 million poultry. Severe damage was caused to forest and fruit nurseries along rivers and streams, and to fisheries and aquaculture, which provide an important and immediate source of nutrition.
The Rabi wheat planting season (September-November) has begun in many areas, but farmers lack seeds, fertilizer, tools, draught animals and viable irrigation systems. If support is not provided in time, the majority of affected people will not be able to plant their next crop until mid-2011, or to harvest wheat – Pakistan’s main staple food crop – until spring 2012. Failure to respond to agricultural needs in time will trigger a domino effect of further losses and prolonged dependence on external aid.
It is crucial to ensure at least limited planting of staple, fodder and subsistence crops in order to avoid further decline in household incomes and food security and to begin restoring seed stocks and fodder. Provision of animal feed and basic veterinary support will safeguard livestock survival, health and productivity and avoid distress sales, protecting a crucial source of milk, protein and income for rural families, and women in particular.
The Agriculture Cluster, led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has appealed for USD 170.6 million within the framework of the Revised Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan. Of this total, FAO seeks USD 107 million to address critical needs in the crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries subsectors and assist directly 743 250 families, through activities such as:
- delivering critical farming inputs (seed and fertilizer) for the Rabi 2010 and Kharif 2011 planting seasons and restoring basic irrigation infrastructure;
- protecting and restoring productive livestock assets, through providing veterinary support, small ruminants/ poultry, animal shelters and supplementary animal feed;
- providing inputs/rehabilitation support for the resumption of fisheries and forestry-based production; and
- expanding and improving the coordination of immediate and early recovery agriculture interventions through the cluster approach and assessments.