FAO in Pakistan

A Shelter for a Rainy Day

Under the IDPs Livestock Support Project, FAO partners with donor agencies to help displaced farmers protect their livestock

Back at home in Sarobai, Miran Shah District of FATA, neighbors used to call him the “Malik” – head of the community. Umbar Khan prided himself for owning more livestock than anyone else in the village and was known for slaughtering a sheep for community gatherings or sharing milk with his neighbors. But today, 57 year old Umbar Khan is standing in a line for support that FAO is distributing to needy farmers.

Umbar Khan is one of 58,000 farmers to receive essential vaccination for their livestock, feed and key supplies for animal care from the FAO project which provides livestock support for persons temporarily displaced (TDPs) by the military operation in North Waziristan. The project is funded by USAID, Belgian Aid and the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

The military operation that the Government of Pakistan launched in North Waziristan Agency in May 2014 has displaced 1.3 million people (more than 100,000 families) from their homes. Most of these families took refuge with relatives or in government buildings in Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Karak and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Like thousands of other farmers, Umbar Khan left his home with whatever he was able to pack in a rented truck. “I walked for a kilometer before I was able to find a truck for 50,000 Rupees (US$500) to transport my family, animals and possessions,” says Umbar Khan. “Law enforcement authorities gave us a very short notice, and we had very little time to gather our possessions before fleeing,” says the man.

Umbar Khan’s family consists of 24 people including Umbar’s 6 sons, 3 daughters, and their families. In Sarobai, they all lived together in a spacious family house. Their 16 goats, 14 sheep, 8 cows and 25 hens provided plenty of eggs, milk and meat, while their 3.5 acres of land supplied wheat, apricots, apples and mulberries. “I was a wealthy man. We produced all the food the family needed,” says Umbar Khan.

When fleeing, the family left most of their possessions behind, including 2 heifers, 4 sheep and 20 hens: all of the animas could not fit in one truck, and some of the animals perished during the journey due to heat and exertion. But even the remaining animals lacked shelter, water and feed in their new location. In fear of losing even more animals, Umbar Khan sold 6 goats, 2 sheep and a heifer shortly after his arrival in Bannu.  “It’s not easy to be displaced from home,” says Umbar Khan, his voice barely a whisper with grief.

Umbar Khan settled his family on the outskirts of Bannu Town, where there was some pastureland for his animals. The family members now live in a tent and a small room provided by the locals. “I don’t care if I am starving, but it hurts to see my family and animals suffer,” says Umbar Khan.

Due to the protracted starvation, his livestock has weakened and does not even produce enough milk or eggs for the family. “The sheep and goats eat acacia leaves, but it’s too rough for the cows, and I am afraid I would lose them,” says Umbar Khan. 
Under the FAO livestock support project, Umbar Khan received animal compound feed and urea molasses, as well as milking, watering and feeding implements. Additionally, his animals received de-worming medicine and vaccination from Foot and Mouth Disease and Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).

“This support is a lifeline not only for our animals, but also for the entire family,” says Umbar Khan.