The title of the operation is changed to ‘Food Assistance for Early Recovery and for the Vulnerable Populations Affected by High Food Prices in Pakistan’ to reflect the impact of high food prices and the heightened need for early recovery activities among the target population. it has also ben extended in time until the end of 2010 as per Budget revision 2 (see below).
Pakistan is suffering significant negative effects from rising food and fuel prices. The Government of Pakistan is urgently seeking measures to stabilize the food security situation in the country.
A June 2008 United Nations Inter-Agency Assessment has found that:
- Food security in Pakistan has drastically worsened. Prices have increased, incomes have not kept pace; poor households now spend over 70 percent of their income on food and still cannot afford an adequate diet; increasingly destructive coping measures are being used such as foregoing basic health care and removing children from school; nutrition and health indicators for pregnant and lactating women and especially children are deteriorating; and national interventions to date have been insufficient to halt the negative trend.
- Rural households across the country, particularly in provinces sharing a border with Afghanistan, are the most affected. In North West Frontier Province (NWFP), for example, the severely foodinsecure population in rural areas (people who consume less than 1,700 kcal per day) has increased by 56 percent.
- The total number of households in Pakistan falling into the severely food-insecure category is estimated to be around seven million.
- The Government is attempting to rectify this situation through national safety net interventions,but significant gaps remain.
- An underlying cause of the price rises in Pakistan is the higher price obtained for Pakistani wheat in neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan. As a result, food availability and food access is particularly precarious in border areas.
- High food prices are also factor of instability, particularly in areas that are facing multiple problems such as floods and hosting hundreds of thousands of internally-displaced people.
Without emergency food assistance this situation will continue to worsen. WFP’s assistance is aimed at reducing the gap between the need and what the Government and others can provide, by reaching half-a-million households through schools and food-for-work activities in 20 most food-insecure districts in NWFP, Balochistan and in some arid zones of the Sindh province.
The intervention is based on the findings and recommendations of the WFP-led inter-agency assessment of June 2008. This assessment had been requested by the Government and involved multi-sector expertise from the following United Nations agencies: FAO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, WFP.
As per Budget revision 901, this operation has been extended until 31 December 2009.