While the Sindh government’s distribution of 8,333 metric tonnes of wheat among flood survivors was appreciated by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the organisation claims it still is short by $107 million.
“We are extremely grateful for this contribution,” said WFP Pakistan Country Director Jean-Luc Siblot in a statement. “It will be vital in ensuring we can maintain our supply line to the people who still desperately need our help.”
In order to meet their target of providing food to the most severely affected up to February 2012, however, the WFP needs a further $107 million. Without further urgent donations, supplies will start running out before the end of November, making it impossible to maintain full rations. This will leave the WFP with no choice but to cut down the size of rations or the number of people assisted from December, it added.
“It also sends a message to donors across the world that Pakistan is doing all it can to assist flood victims,” the statement added.
The contribution from the Sindh government – enough to provide food to nearly 730,000 people for one month – makes up one-third of the 25,000 tonnes of wheat pledged by Pakistan to the WFP during WFP deputy executive director for operations, Ramiro Lopes da Silva’s visit last month.
Following a request from the Pakistani authorities, WFP began its emergency operation to provide food rations to people affected by the 2011 floods on September 12. To date, the agency has managed to reach over 2.4 million people in both Sindh and Balochistan, the statement added. While flood waters have begun to recede recently, many communities are still marooned and thousands of square kilometres of crops have been lost. Farmers say it will be months before they can plant again, leaving them temporarily dependent on food assistance.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2011.
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