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 )
A decade of drought forced Pakistan's wheat farmers to change to less lucrative crops, but a timely forecast of rains brought fresh hope
By Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio
ISLAMABAD, Feb 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In early November last year, Muhammad Islam was surprised by news from the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
The 40-year-old farmer learned that good rains were forecast for the crucial wheat growing months of November and December.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Despite erratic rains at start of season, current prospects for 2018 wheat output are positive
Aggregate cereal output in 2017 estimated at record level
Rice exports in 2018 forecast to increase from last year’s near-average level
Prices of wheat and wheat flour strengthened seasonally in recent months
Food insecurity persists in localized areas
In recent years, Pakistan has become a food surplus country and a major producer of wheat and rice. However, despite the growth in food production, the poorest and most vulnerable members of the population cannot afford a sufficient and nutritious diet.
The purpose of this report is to give an overview of the way the Drought Financing Facility is designed, including two proposed pilots in Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
The Drought Financing Facility is based on a risk management approach that involves scientific modelling of drought risks, focused scenario-based contingency planning and ground monitoring, and pre-positioned financing.
GoP program assists more than 262,600 displaced households to return to FATA
Seasonal monsoon rains and flooding in August result in more than 160 deaths countrywide
USAID provides nearly $9.4 million in additional multi-sector humanitarian assistance
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food supply and prices in countries at risk of food insecurity. The Regional Supply and Market Outlook report provides a summary of regional staple food availability, surpluses and deficits during the current marketing year, projected price behavior, implications for local and regional commodity procurement, and essential market monitoring indicators.
How can the humanitarian sector in Pakistan build more effective systems for humanitarian action? And how do we need to work together to achieve it? These were the questions we attempted to answer during Start Network’s ‘The Future of Humanitarian Action in Pakistan’ conference, held in July in Islamabad, with the support of ACTED and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy.
Within a short timeframe, a multi-sectoral project, involving nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and cross-sectoral coordination, was successfully established in a drought-affected community and achieved impact.
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.