Pakistan: Drought Response Plan (Jan - Dec 2019)



5.0M People Affected (millions)

2.1M People Targeted

$96.3M Required (US$)


Pakistan has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of drought due a rise in temperatures, adverse effects of El Nino and a decrease in rainfall during the monsoon season. As per the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), severe drought-like conditions have emerged over much of southern Pakistan, with an expectation for further deterioration over the next 4 years.
In 2018 Pakistan received reduced rainfall during the monsoon season (May to August), with Sindh 69.5 per cent below average, and Balochistan 45 per cent below.

This has resulted in acute shortages of water, food and fodder. The Government of Pakistan estimates some 5 million people are affected by the drought in 26 districts in Sindh and Balochistan.

The Government of Sindh declared some southeast and western districts as calamity hit areas and initiated food distributions. In Balochistan, the government has declared a nutrition and drought emergency across the entire province. Despite government relief operations, a significant number of affected areas remain in need.

Pastoral communities are adopting coping strategies of distress-selling of livestock, abandoning their primary assets, or migrating along with their livestock to other districts. With a reduced resilience, these drastic coping mechanisms severely compromise the wellbeing of children and women.

To assess the situation, a multi-sector needs assessment was carried out in Sindh by the Natural Disaster Consortium (IOM, FAO, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, HANDS and ACTED- with the technical support of WFP and WHO) in October 2018 that confirms 71 per cent of households are moderately or severely food insecure with 32 per cent severely food insecure. Food consumption is either poor or borderline, and findings suggest that the drought has caused an overall 34 per cent reduction in crop cultivation.

The National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2018 in Sindh, has revealed alarming findings regarding food security and severe malnutrition among children under five and a lowered life expectancy among pregnant and lactating women. Evidence suggests that malnutrition rates among children are as high as 29.1 per cent which is nearly double the emergency threshold. In Balochistan, the malnutrition rate among children under five, as well as pregnant and lactating women is high. The global acute malnutrition among children under five is reported as 18.6 per cent while malnutrition among pregnant women is 37 per cent. Overall, the acute malnutrition rate in 20 per cent in women and children in Balochistan.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), on the direction of the President of Pakistan, has issued a detailed report analyzing the current drought situation and recommended a two-tier approach to combat it through immediate short-term humanitarian action, along with complementary long-term development measures.

Food security and agriculture, nutrition, health, WASH, education, and women and child protection were identified as key response priorities.


The Sindh and Balochistan Drought Response Plan highlights the support planned by the Humanitarian Country Team to meet targeted needs in complement to the Government-led response.

This support seeks to:

  1. Augment government efforts to provide immediate, life-saving assistance and life-sustaining assistance to the population affected by drought.

  2. Support the restoration of livelihoods of the drought-affected population through resiliencebuilding activities.

  3. Support the government to develop long-term strategy to address the 3 impact of the drought.