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Pakistan: Three Achievements And Three Challenges

The flooding in Pakistan this summer set off a massive aid operation to feed millions of people driven from their homes or stranded by the floods. Two months on and with the floodwaters receding in many areas, we look at what’s been achieved so far and at the challenges that lie ahead.

Three Achievements

1. Large scale mobilisation

WFP started to distribute relief food rations within 24 hours of the floods, despite damage to large quantities of in-country food stocks in warehouses hit by the flooding. In August, WFP delivered life-saving food assistance to three million people, a number which rose to six million in September as more food, staff and equipment arrived.

Hardest hit

Farmers bore the brunt of the flood damage and now, as the waters begin to recede, risk missing the wheat planting season--a scenario that would mean more and worse hunger for Paksitan.  Find out more

2. Local food

Bread is an essential part of the Pakistani diet, and supplying flour to millions of people means finding a way to mill large quantities of wheat. WFP had 28 mills under contract when the flooding broke out, but needed more than twice as many to provide the amount of flour needed. Today it operates 63 mills across the country, which grind an average 4,500 metric tons of locally-grown wheat into flour every day.

3. Air operations

More than a month after the flooding began, many parts of the country were still cut off by road. Reaching the people who lived there with food required a complex air operation, that delivered food rations to over 300,000 people. WFP also transported aid workers and humanitarian supplies for other UN agencies, as part of its leadership of the Emergency Logistics Cluster. Find out more

Three Challenges

1. New routes to the hungry

Floodwaters have devastated roads and bridges around the country, making ground travel to some of the hardest hit towns and villages extremely difficult. Even the motorways spared from flooding are congested with traffic as people return to their homes. WFP logisticians are exploring alternative ways to move food around the country while reconstruction continues.

2. Curbing malnutrition

Pakistan already had high rates of child malnutrition before the floods and the disaster could make a bad situation worse. To keep hunger at bay, WFP plans on feeding an average six million people per month through January 2011. The “food basket” distributed to families contains both wheat flour for making bread, as well as high-energy biscuits and specialised nutrition products tailored to meet the needs of small children.

3.Supporting food production

The Indus River swelled to between 10 and 20 times its normal size, submerging farmland, killing livestock and wrecking wells and machinery. With the wheat planting season around the corner, farmers badly need to be able to get back to their fields. To help prevent a food crisis in the near future, WFP is providing many farmers with food in exchange for work on projects to repair farmland, roads and irrigation systems. Find out more

Help needed
At the end of September, WFP told world governments that it would need US $600 million to carry on emergency food assistance in Pakistan through to January 2011. Find out how you can help.