UN: 5.7 million affected by food crisis in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Some 5.7 million survivors of Pakistan’s floods face a dire food crisis over the next three months, the United Nations Humanitarian Organization said on Monday, as the death toll from the disaster continued to rise.

Floods caused by unusually heavy monsoon rains have killed 1,695 people, affected 33 million people, damaged more than two million homes and displaced hundreds of thousands now living in tents or makeshift shelters, according to Pakistan’s national authority.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest report on Saturday that the ongoing flooding is expected to exacerbate food insecurity in Pakistan and said that 5.7 million people in the flood-hit areas were killed between September and November with a food crisis will face.

According to the World Health Organization, even before the floods, 16% of the population was moderately or severely food insecure.

However, the Pakistani government insists there are no immediate food supply concerns as there are enough wheat reserves to last until the next harvest and the government is importing more.

The UN agency tweeted on Monday that the agency and other partners had stepped up their flood-fighting efforts and provided assistance to 1.6 million people directly affected.

Outbreaks of diseases, including waterborne ones, have been reported in the south-western provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, where floods have been causing the greatest damage since mid-June.

Various countries and UN agencies have sent more than 131 aid flights to survivors, although many complain that they have received too little or are still waiting for help.

The UN agency also said in its Saturday report that rainfall in Balochistan and Sindh had eased significantly over the past week as temperatures began to drop ahead of winter.

The United Nations had planned to revise its appeal to request an additional $800 million from the international community in response to the growing need to save lives among survivors of the Pakistan floods. The UN said last week that “food is being delivered to vulnerable families; but it is still not enough to meet people’s nutritional needs.”

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