PESHAWAR: Hunger in Pakistan is at emergency levels after years of conflict and floods, but funding has dwindled as new crises such as Syria grab donors' attention, the United Nations food aid chief said on Sunday.

Fighting in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan compounded problems caused by three consecutive years of floods that destroyed crops and forced millions of people to temporarily abandon their homes.

Although most have now returned, about half of Pakistan's population still does not have secure access to enough food, up from a little over a third a decade ago, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said. Fifteen per cent of children are severely malnourished, and some 40 per cent suffer from stunted growth.

“This is an emergency situation, both from the food security side as well as from the malnutrition side,” WFP chief Ertharin Cousin told Reuters. “We need to raise the alarm.”

At a centre for treating acute malnutrition in Pakistan's Swat Valley, visited by Cousin on Sunday, a young mother called Zainab clutched her underweight 2-month-old baby and waited for a high-nutrition food ration.

“When the area was evacuated, we left our cattle and our homes, when we came back our cattle were dead and our homes were destroyed,” said Zainab, who wore a black burqa.

There is growing concern that international donors will lose interest in the unstable border areas after the withdrawal next year of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan.

Already, Cousin said, the rising cost of the refugee crisis in Syria meant it was harder to attract funds to Pakistan.

WFP's Syria-related operations currently cost $19 million a month, and are forecast to rise as high as $42 million a month by the end of the year, putting a strain on Western donors.

North Korea is even worse hit by funding shortages, Cousin said, partly due to a drop in donations noticed at the beginning of this year, when Pyongyang threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the United States.

“We are significantly under-funded in DPRK going into this lean season, and we are very concerned about what that means,” said Cousin, who called off a visit to North Korea during the tensions in March. She said she still planned to visit.

More From This Section

Army to take over security of polio teams in KP

The decision was announced after a meeting at the GHQ attended by the representatives of WHO, federal and KP govt

Faisal Raza Abidi resigns from Senate

The PPP Senator on Thursday announced his resignation from the upper house of parliament.

President sacks Pemra chairman

Meanwhile, PM Nawaz Sharif replaced Wapda chief Syed Raghib Abbas Shah with retired bureaucrat Zafar Mehmood.

Peace talks to gradually continue despite end of TTP ceasefire

The Cabinet Committee on National Security decided that the negotiations with Taliban would continue on a slow pace.

Comments are closed.

Comments (14)

June 24, 2013 9:29 am


June 24, 2013 1:21 pm

She should go to Somalia or Ethiopia first. But why should she? Every time there is a disaster in Africa, its the white man from Europe to the rescue. Shame on you. Go fix your house first.

June 24, 2013 5:00 pm

If the "militants" want Allah's mercy and really want to go to heaven, then they should lay down their arms and cultivate the land to feed their starving countrymen, women and malnourished children!

June 24, 2013 5:30 pm

..and this all is happening in a country where Muslims reside, who are told that their faith is not complete if his/her neighbour sleeps hungry.

Anwar Gul
June 24, 2013 7:18 pm

Appreciate ED visit to Pakistan it will help to highlight problems of Pakistan to the world.

June 24, 2013 7:27 pm

A very sad situation indeed. The article points to fighting and floods in the last three years as the main causes of this disaster. Another big question is can we continue to produce enough food to feed our growing population in the years to come considering the lack of water in most areas and the increase in the frequency of flooding which is forecasted to get worse due to global warming?

June 24, 2013 7:52 pm

Misuse of donor aid combined with overall poor international reputation has it's consequences - s/b no surprise that donors find other worthy causes. Pakistan needs to make concerted effort to rehabilitate it's reputation and regain trust of donors.

June 24, 2013 9:06 pm

@Tariq: bro muslims are terrorist and loosers, heal is not enough for them, they deserve something more!

June 25, 2013 12:24 am

Similar to N Korea Pakistani's are actually shrinking because of chronic malnutrition - both countries may have been better off feeding their people rather than developing nukes.

M. Emad
June 25, 2013 1:26 am

Bhuka Pakistani !

June 25, 2013 7:13 am

@gamgadin: She is an American. Just because she looks African does not mean she is from Africa and she is trying to help your nation. Fix your house at least with her help.

Mayank R
June 25, 2013 8:50 am

@gamgadin: Dude relax. Just because she is black does not mean she is from Africa. As a matter of fact she is from Chicago.

Aizaz Moin
June 25, 2013 12:20 pm

This used to be a good country once, progressive, prosperous, tolerant and a model for all in the Muslim world. Foreigners used to flock to get contracts in Pakistan. I remember foreign pilots flying for PIA. Sadly Modern Day Pakistanis with their Islamist agendas for imposing their standards on this "society". Have ruined this once great Country. I honestly believe Pakistan must now DUMP it's nuclear arsenal because I am certain it WILL fall into the wrong hands spelling disaster for the rest of the world. BUT WHO WILL BELL THE CAT???

June 25, 2013 3:29 pm

@gamgadin: She is from USA and not from Somalia

Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
From The Newspaper