Pakistan: Drought - 2014-2017
According to authorities in Tharparkar district, Sindh province, 99 children and 67 adults (43 men and 24 women) have reportedly died in Tharparkar since the beginning of 2014 due to a combination of chronic malnutrition, a lack of access to effective health facilities, lower than average rainfall in Chachro, Diplo, Khinser, Islamkot, Mithi tehsils (sub-districts), and an outbreak of sheep pox which has killed thousands of small animals.
Crop failure due to low rainfall, coupled with loss of small animals has greatly reduced the impoverished communities’ purchasing power. Poverty is endemic in the sparsely populated district with acute malnutrition rates in children as high as 20 per cent, well above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent. The outbreak of sheep pox has aggravated the situation in Tharparkar, possibly having killed thousands of small animals, critical to household food security. (OCHA, 20 March 2014)
More than 190 children have died and 22,000 have been hospitalised in Tharparkar district in 2016 because of drought-related waterborne and viral diseases. Tharparkar is facing severe drought for the fourth consecutive year, and access to health services is reported to be very difficult, with families travelling an average distance of 17km to reach the nearest health facility. (Assessment Capacities Project, 16 Feb 2016)
According to the Joint UN Needs Assessment, several districts have been severely affected by extreme water scarcity (62% in Jamshoro and 100% in Tharparkar), and it has resulted in reduced harvest by 34-53% and livestock by 48%. (UNICEF, 30 Jun 2016)
In Tharparkar District and the surrounding areas of Sindh Province, a third consecutive year of cereal production shortfalls due to drought, coupled with losses of small animals, has aggravated food insecurity and caused acute malnutrition. (FAO, 30 Nov 2016)
Since 2013, Tharparkar has been affected by a drought‐like situation impacting livelihoods, nutrition and health conditions. The total under‐ 5 deaths were reported at 234 in 2013, 326 in 2014, and 398 in 2015, rising from 173 in 2011 and 188 in 2012. According to media reports, the incidence of under‐five deaths in Tharparkar is still on rise during the first half of 2016 with 243 deaths recorded. This may suggest a worsening health and nutrition situation following the start of the drought period. (WFP, 19 Sep 2016)
At least nine more infants died due to malnutrition and the outbreak of various diseases in arid Tharparkar district over a two-day period in December, raising the toll to 476 for 2016, according to local media. (Alhasan Systems, 01 Jan 2017)
A joint UN observation mission took place in drought-hit Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar districts from 13-17 February, 2017. The resulting mission report stated that the areas remain vulnerable and that the situation may become critical or deteriorate into a 'humanitarian emergency' if little or no rain falls during the coming monsoon, and if immediate needs are not met. The mission found that the vulnerabilities outlined in an August 2016 needs assessment remain, while recommendations from detailed assessments and missions conducted from 2015-2016 have not been put into practice. (UNCT, 17 Feb 2017)
In the districts of Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar in southeastern Sindh Province, below-average rains throughout 2016 sharply reduced the 2016/17 cereal production. This, coupled with losses of small animals due to diseases and severe shortages of fodder and water, has aggravated food insecurity and caused acute malnutrition. (FAO, 09 May 2017)
Forecast models indicate that there is a 50 to 60 per cent probability of an El Niño event developing in the second half of 2017, with Pakistan categorized as a high-risk country. Worsening drought conditions could potentially affect an estimated 300,000 of the most vulnerable people — including 192,680 children — in Sindh province. There will also be an increased chance of severe monsoon rains in the north. Humanitarian partners are developing a preparedness plan aligned with priorities identified by the Government of Pakistan. (OCHA, 19 Jun 2017 )
GoP repatriation program assists nearly 260,000 displaced households to return to FATA
Recent polio vaccination campaigns reach 92 percent of targeted children countrywide
Flooding results in nearly 50 deaths and displaces at least 11,200 people
In Pakistan, the poorest and most vulnerable members of the population cannot afford a sufficient and nutritious diet. Ongoing conflict between the Government of Pakistan (GoP) and militant groups, recurrent natural disasters—including drought and floods—and a lack of basic health and nutrition education complicates household access to food and livelihood opportunities.
In 2017 UNICEF humanitarian support continued for displaced and returning families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the drought-affected population in Sindh. A total of 29,192 families returned to FATA since January 2017, while 45,488 families remained displaced.
ISLAMABAD – The food security situation of returned households to their place of origin in Pakistan’s FATA Agencies has improved significantly since 2014, according to a new report released today.
Millions of Pakistanis depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. With almost 80 percent of the country’s area consisting of arid or semi-arid land, however, much of Pakistan’s agricultural land is vulnerable to desertification - the process by which arable land becomes desert due to drought, deforestation, inappropriate agricultural practices, the effects of climate change, or a combination of all of these. As Pakistan’s population grows and the effects of climate change take hold, desertification has become a major source of concern for the country’s fragile ecosystem.
The Drought Monitoring System produces Integrated Drought Severity Index (IDSI) on a weekly basis by combining satellite derived information on the conditions of vegetation, temperature and rainfall datasets using long-term (15 years) record.
IDSI product was developed m a joint collaboration with World Meteorological Organizations (WMO), Global Water Partnership (GWP) and CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) led by CIAT and Water, Land and Ecosystems.
MITHI: Heavy to moderate rain continued to lash Thar, Badin and several other areas of lower Sindh region on Friday, bringing long-awaited relief to desert dwellers and displacing many others in coastal villages.
The rainfall in Nagarparkar, Mithi, Islamkot and other parts of Thar has brought back joy to the face of drought-stricken desert people as the rain has been more abundant this year than many previous years.
WASHINGTON — The latest farm tools on the job in Pakistan are cell phones and satellites. A new program is using satellite data to estimate how much water a field needs, and then texting this information to farmers.
Parts of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States of America have seen extremely high May and June temperatures, with a number of records broken. The heatwaves are unusually early and are occurring as the Earth experiences another exceptionally warm year.
By Megan Rowling and Andrew Mambondiyani
BARCELONA/HARARE, June 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When a big earthquake, flash flood or other sudden disaster hits, aid agencies spring into action with emergency responses and public appeals for donations. With droughts, it's different.
If the rains don't come, it can take months for the effects to be felt by poor rural families. Hunger kicks in only after crops fail, food stocks are exhausted and livestock start dying - but by then, help often comes too late to head off the worst.
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (9 June 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan today signed a loan agreement of $86.41 million for the extension of the Pehur High Level Canal in the Swabi and Nowshehra districts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Xiaohong Yang, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, and Tariq Mahmood Pasha, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) for the Government of Pakistan, signed the loan agreement, and Tariq Rashid, KP’s Irrigation Department Secretary, signed the project agreement.
Le rapport de la FAO souligne des pertes importantes dues à la perturbation des activités agricoles, à la hausse des prix et au déplacement des moyens d’existence
Food insecurity strains deepen amid civil conflict and drought
FAO report notes heavy toll of disrupted farming, higher prices and displaced livelihoods
8 June 2017, Rome-- Large agricultural harvests in some regions of the world are buoying global food supply conditions, but protracted fighting and unrest are increasing the ranks of the displaced and hungry elsewhere, according to the new edition of FAO's Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.
WFP collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan.
Launch of the National Food Fortification Strategy for Pakistan.
National Consultation on 'Fill the Nutrient Gap Analysis – Pakistan.'
Launch of a report on “Economic Consequences of Undernutrition.”
Initiation of WFP Pakistan Country Strategic Plan process.
Planning for 40 new Strategic Grain Reserves.
GUJAR KHAN: An ancient pond near the Miana Mohra village of Gujar Khan has touched the lowest level due to the sweltering heat and diversion of water in the catchment areas.
Ponds in the rural areas of Potohar were mostly carved out by the Hindus and Sikhs during the pre-partition era.
In some of the villages ponds under peepal or banyan trees still exist as relics of the past but in most of the villages the water bodies located on common land have vanished and the land occupied by the land mafia.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Wheat production in 2017 to decrease marginally from last year’s bumper level
Rice exports in 2017 forecast to decrease from last year’s high level but remain above-average
Prices of wheat and wheat flour declined in April with new harvest
Localized food insecurity persists
Wheat production in 2017 to decrease marginally from last year’s bumper level
At least eight more children, including infants, died in drought-hit Thar during the last three days, raising the death toll to 124 this year.
Three-year-old Bharat Kumar, and newborns Mohammad Aslam and Shankar died in civil hospital in Tharparkar's Mithi area whereas two infants and a two-year-old toddler died in the tehsil headquarters hospital of Nagarparkar.