International agencies have sounded the alarm over the acute food crisis expected to hit Pakistan in the wake of catastrophic floods as the UN chief declared that climate change impacts were “heading into uncharted territories of destruction.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Tuesday that the number of acutely hungry people in Pakistan was expected to rise substantially, since at least 43 percent of the population was said to be food insecure even before the floods hit.
Some 21 million acres of crops were under water, and an estimated 65pc of the country’s food basket — crops like rice and wheat — had been destroyed, with over 733,000 livestock reportedly killed, the IFRC and ICRC said in Geneva on Tuesday.
Separately, at the launch of a multi-agency scientific report reviewing the latest research on climate change that warned that the world is “going in the wrong direction,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who recently concluded a visit to Pakistan’s flood-hit areas, noted: “Heatwaves in Europe. Colossal floods in Pakistan…There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters.”
With greenhouse gas concentrations continuing to rise in the atmosphere and world leaders failing to adopt strategies to hold global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, the earth is inching closer to dangerous climate tipping points, the United in Science report says.
In the meantime, the director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Qu Dongyu, has affirmed that the organisation would continue its support to the government of Pakistan in addressing the effects of the floods on the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) opened an emergency operations centre in Swat on Tuesday and provided urgently needed essential medicines in the area.
The organisation has donated essential equipment such as operation theatre lights and anaesthesia machines and has set up an emergency operations centre to be the central hub for disseminating water purification tablets, vaccines and nutritional supplements.
Visiting the new emergency operations centre, WHO representative in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala, emphasised the importance of vaccinating children against preventable diseases.
During a meeting with Pakistan Ambassador to Rome Jauhar Saleem on Monday, the FAO chief explained that the organisation’s emergency response would target livestock vaccination, distribution of animal feed and the distribution of agricultural production inputs for the upcoming Rabi season, among other areas of support.
SINDH SITUATION: Thesituation in Sindh is likely to worsen as the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Tuesday forecast another spell of rains in the province.
According to Met office, a low-pressure system located in Indian state of Gujrat has integrated into another low-pressure system present in Central India. The rain-producing system is likely to cause more precipitation in areas of upper Sindh till September 15.
The areas likely to receive rain include Tharparkar, Umarkot, Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Jamshoro, with showers accompanied by windstorms in Sanghar, Badin, Khairpur, Thatta and Tando Muhammad Khan.
Pakistan is currently reeling from the havoc caused by the catastrophic floods, largely depending on aid from international organisations and friendly countries for relief and rehabilitation.
The devastating floods caused by record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern mountains have affected 33 million people and killed almost 1,400, sweeping away homes, transport, crops and livestock in damage estimated at $30 billion.
In flood-hit areas of Sindh the outbreak of water and vector-borne diseases has intensified with two girls dying of gastrointestinal disease in Khairpur. Meanwhile, four children drowned in floodwaters in Qambar and Maher.
In Thatta, Sujawal and Makli, flood affectees in roadside makeshift camps await relief.
The death toll from the floods in Sindh has topped 621. The province received 466% more rain than average and all the flood waters roll through Dadu, which has a population of 1.5 million.
The process of restoration of roads and infrastructure in the flood affected areas is underway on an emergency basis on the directives issued by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The premier is personally monitoring the restoration work and viewing reports submitted to him on a daily basis.
The operational sections of Gawadar-Ratodero Motorway M-8 have been opened to traffic after clearing the landsliding at Wangu Hills place. Moreover, the Timergara-Bajaur transmission line has also been restored while the Bajaur and Munda Grid Stations conduct operations as per routine.