Pakistan aligns and scales up nutrition security interventions as part of its flood response
The interlinkages between nutrition and climate change are undeniable, and new evidence for this statement is collected on a daily basis. The situation in Pakistan is among the latest.
Pakistan has witnessed one of the worst floods in recent times, with more than 1,500 lives lost and large-scale destruction to the country’s infrastructure. According to UNICEF, one of every seven people in Pakistan has been impacted by the floods, and around 3.4 million children are in need of assistance and at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition.
The floods have exposed the most vulnerable population groups – particularly children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating women – to even more vulnerability in terms of food and nutrition security.
According to the Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives, this catastrophe has driven the country to hyper-malnutrition which will require a massive effort to combat. He further advised the federal and provincial governments and development partners to focus and eliminate malnutrition, enhance the nutrition status of mothers and children and rebuild people’s livelihoods.
“Pakistan was hit with devastating floods that not only claimed many lives but also severely affected livelihoods,” said Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, SUN government focal point in Pakistan. “The country, in which many people already have limited access to diversified diets, is expected to experience severe food shortages that will exacerbate the triple burden of malnutrition.”
A national consultation to scale up nutrition interventions was held 27 September 2022 in Islamabad under the Chairmanship of the Honorable Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives and the Chairman of the Federal Flood Relief Committee.
The consultation, titled “Multisectoral Nutrition Stakeholders’ Response to Minimize the Impact of Flood Calamity on Food and Nutrition Security of Vulnerable Population,” was a platform to discuss and evaluate the situation and, most importantly, develop a roadmap for effective response.
The consultation was attended by government officials, donors, United Nations agencies, civil society, academia, businesses, philanthropic organizations and other actors and sectors.
“After the emergency response, the government of Pakistan and its partners will plan for the recovery and rehabilitation, which will be coordinated by the Planning Commission,” said a Member of the Agriculture Food Security and Nutrition Planning Commission. He further emphasized the importance of diverting the funds from other projects to the flood affected areas so that it could be utilized in the rehabilitation of flood victims.
Natural disasters such as the floods in Pakistan affect all sectors. It is therefore essential that multisectoral, multi-stakeholder consultations take place to ensure that all efforts are aligned to provide vital and immediate assistance to affected populations.
“I was very happy to see this consultation take place,” Dr. Nazeer Ahmed said. “I am now hopeful that the implementation of the roadmap will lead to tangible and rapid results for those who suffer the most.”
The SUN Movement stands with Pakistan during these difficult times and is ready to support the implementation of this response at the national level.
Learn how you can play your part from the SUN Civil Society Network: https://www.suncivilsociety.com/flooding-in-pakistan/