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Pakistan: Humanitarian Response Plan 2010
The humanitarian situation in northwestern Pakistan has deteriorated significantly since mid-2008. In several areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) the growth of insecurity has led to a dramatic increase in population displacements and a corresponding rise in humanitarian, protection and assistance needs, especially since April 2009.
Internal displacements in northwestern Pakistan peaked between late April and mid-July 2009 at an estimated 2.7 million people. Although the Government of Pakistan launched a formal process in July 2009 to help people return to their areas of origin, support for displaced people as well as host communities continues to be required (official reports indicate that about 1.7 million people had returned home by the end of October 2009).
Under thePakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (PHRP) 2010, the humanitarian community is focusing assistance on four groups: (i) internally displaced persons (IDPs) in or outside of camps (i.e. mainly with host families); (ii) those who were displaced but have now returned home (returnees); (iii) vulnerable populations that remained in conflict zones; and (iv) families hosting IDPs.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in NWFP and FATA. It remains the main source of livelihood for over 75 percent of people in displacement-affected areas, but has been severely impacted by the crisis. A large portion of the 2008/09 winter crop was lost as farmers abandoned fields that were ready for harvest, while the 2009 summer crop was placed in jeopardy because so many were unable to return to their farms to plant.
The 2009/10 winter crop is also likely to be harmed. In addition, a large number of animals were reported lost – a devastating blow to the region as livestock farming is a major source of livelihood – with flocks and herds of large and small animals (primarily cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats) being reduced by an estimated 37 and 29 percent respectively in the affected area. Severe damage to buildings, roads, public utilities, veterinary hospitals, and research and irrigation facilities was also reported.
Traditional coping mechanisms, which mainly rely on mutual assistance among friends and family, have been overstretched because of the displacement situation, with over 80 percent of IDPs finding refuge with host families. In combination with substantial price increases over the past 18 months, these issues have considerably worsened the overall food security situation. Ultimately, the majority of those who need help lack the agricultural inputs and financial resources necessary to effectively restore and sustain their livelihoods.
Within the PHRP 2010 framework, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) seeks approximately USD 11 million to improve food security and restore agriculture-based livelihoods in northwestern Pakistan through the provision of immediate agricultural assistance to 720 000 individuals (90 000 families) in FATA and NWFP.
As Agriculture Cluster lead agency, FAO facilitates a consultative process, with key humanitarian partners, national and local authorities, state institutions, local civil society and other relevant actors, aimed at ensuring well-coordinated and effective humanitarian responses in the agriculture sector. With donor funding, FAO aims to:
- provide seeds, fertilizers and tools in time for the 2010 spring and autumn planting seasons;
- improve livestock productivity through animal-based input distributions;
- promote agricultural income diversification through the provision of technical assistance on fruit and forestry tree nurseries;
- provide inputs and technical assistance for farmer-managed small-scale irrigation schemes;
- provide training on agricultural techniques and technologies, specially focusing on women-headed households;
- strengthen the technical support available to beneficiaries by improving their access to agriculture extension and veterinary services; and
- intensify coordination among humanitarian partners.