A new report from the World Bank has revealed that an alarming six million people in Pakistan are currently experiencing acute food insecurity as a result of the devastating floods that hit the country last year.
The floods, which took place between June and August 2022, resulted in the death of more than 11 million livestock and the destruction of over 9.4 million acres of cropland in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh, which are already among the most food-insecure regions in the country, Samaa TV reported.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the number of people experiencing food insecurity is projected to increase to 8.5 million between September and December.
The World Bank’s food security update, issued in January 2023, also highlighted a significant increase in food inflation in Pakistan.
The food inflation rose from 8.3 per cent in October 2021 and 15.3 per cent in March 2022 to 31.7 per cent in September 2022, and then to 35 per cent in December 2022.
The report attributed the high food inflation to the high incidence of climatological shocks, the depletion of foreign currency reserves, and the depreciation of local currencies, which have made healthy food less affordable in South Asia.
The update also noted that food production in the region has been widely disrupted by the floods caused by higher-than-normal monsoon rains in some parts of South Asia and less-than-normal rainfall in other parts.
In December 2022, year-on-year consumer price inflation for food prices was 7.9 per cent in Bangladesh, 7.4 per cent in Nepal, 35.5 per cent in Pakistan, and 64.4 per cent in Sri Lanka.
The World Bank has urged the government and international community to take urgent action to address the growing food insecurity crisis in Pakistan, Samaa TV reported.