Floods in Pakistan threaten Afghanistan food supply: UN | The Express Tribune


Devastating floods in Pakistan will strain efforts to get food to neighboring Afghanistan to ease its catastrophic humanitarian crisis, the United Nations warned on Friday.

The UN’s World Food Program said much of the food aid passes through Pakistan by road – a network that has been badly affected by the worst floods in the country’s history.

“We are absolutely focused on the needs of the people in Pakistan right now, but the ramifications of what we are experiencing here go deeper,” said Chris Kaye, WFP Pakistan director.

“We are becoming very, very concerned about overall food security, not only in Pakistan in the immediate and medium term, but also what this is going to mean for operations in Afghanistan.

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“Pakistan provides a vital supply route to Afghanistan,” he said. Large quantities of its food enter through the port of Karachi.

“With roads that have been washed out, this presents us with a major logistical challenge,” Kaye told reporters in Geneva, via video link from Dubai.

“WFP has procured over 320,000 metric tons over the past year to support operations in Afghanistan. The floods in Pakistan will put a huge dent in that capacity.”

He said there was a “major problem” in restoring agricultural production in Pakistan to feed its own people and continue to supply food to Afghanistan.

Another problem was that the wheat crop was being stored in flooded areas of Pakistan and “a lot of the wheat was washed away”.

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He said Pakistan’s food security situation was “serious” even before the floods, with 43% of people food insecure and the country ranking 92nd out of 116 on the Global Hunger Index. .

Monsoon rains have submerged a third of Pakistan, killing more than a thousand people since June and triggering powerful floods that washed away swaths of vital crops and damaged or destroyed more than a million homes.

Officials blamed climate change, which is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events around the world.

Afghanistan’s 38 million people face a desperate humanitarian crisis, made worse after billions of dollars in assets were frozen and foreign aid halted when the Taliban took power a year ago. .

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