Sindh govt denies reports of flood aid being sold in Larkana market

Inquiry reveals that empty bags with the USAID logo were purchased by a shopkeeper and refilled for sale

Hafeez Tunio February 03, 2023
Photo: Screengrab


The Sindh government on Friday termed reports claiming that rice donated by the World Food Programme (WFP) and USAID for flood relief was being sold in a Larkana market as 'baseless'.

"The shopkeeper had purchased the empty bags that have the monogram of WFP-USAID from an individual. He then put rice in the bags and sold it to people," a fact-finding report submitted to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah stated.

According to the incident report, action was taken against the shop owner immediately and the shop was sealed by mukhtiarkar Larkana in order to stop the sale till an impartial inquiry was conducted on the said matter.

The mukhtiarkar also confiscated 1,000 bags which were clearly labelled "Not for sale or purchase". The inquiry committee, under the supervision of Larkana's assistant commissioner, is also probing the matter.

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"During the fact-finding, the shopkeeper said that he had purchased the empty bags from a man named Mohammad Saleem, who runs a business selling gunny bags in the city," the Sindh CM's spokesperson told The Express Tribune.

When questioned, Mohammad Saleem said that he had purchased bags from different labourers from time to time, the spokesperson added.

Furthermore, the incident report detailed an inquiry conducted by the representative of Secours Islamique France (SIF), an NGO that undertook a ration distribution program across Sindh for flood victims in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP) and USAID.

"During the floods, USAID distributed ration among 22,000 families in 11 union councils of Larkana district. These bags did not carry rice alone, but other grocery items including yellow peas," the fact-finding report added.

According to the incident report, the SIF representative apprised that the food bags did not contain rice as it is being circulated. Rather, it contained 9kg of yellow split peas.

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The spokesperson further said that the provincial government has taken up the matter very proactively and will announce the findings of the committee very soon.

"The part of the news that rice from USAID is being sold in the open market is absolutely false."

An inquiry team, headed by the Larkana assistant commissioner along with representatives of SIP and WFP, has been constituted to find out who has been involved in selling empty bags in the open market.

On February 1, a video had gone viral on social media in which a shopkeeper was selling rice in USAID bags in Jellus Market, Larkana.

Following the emergence of the video, leaders of different political parties criticised the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government for looting and plundering the flood victims' relief.


In a statement issued later, the WFP said that it was aware of the unauthorized use of WFP-USAID branded food bags in Larkana, Sindh being used to sell non-WFP food in the open market.

"The issue has been investigated by local authorities. The WFP hotline at 0800 93732 remains available to report any unauthorized sale of WFP assistance”, it said in a statement in response to reports of food donated by it being sold in the markets in Larkana.

An official said WFP had provided yellow split peas in WFP-USAID branded food bags to flood affectees in Sindh but some people took the empty bags and after refilling them with rice, sold them in the local market. “WFP never provided rice to the flood affectees in Sindh, instead it was split yellow peas. The empty bags were refilled with rice and sold in the market”, the official added.


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