ISLAMABAD: Monsoon rains and flooding have damaged 117,400 acres or 43 per cent of crops and vegetables and around 35,000 acres or 30 per cent of orchards with varying proportions in districts that were surveyed, the Rapid Needs Assessment Report on Balochistan says.

The report was prepared by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Balochistan, in collaboration with UN agencies, and released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on Tuesday.

The highest crop and vegetable damage was reported in Lasbela, Pishin and Jhal Magsi, whereas orchards are mostly affected in Killa Saifullah, Kharan and Pishin, according to the report.

The assessment was conducted in 10 districts prioritised at the request of the provincial government. The report says that the recent flooding has negatively impacted the crops and orchards, particularly onions, tomatoes, cotton, maize, pulses, fodder grapes, apple, pomegranate, apricot and dates.

Lasbela, Jhal Magsi, Kharan, Killa Saifullah and Pishin among most-affected districts

Overall, an average of 15pc of farming households lost cereals stored for household consumption, mainly in Jhal Magsi, Kalat and Lasbela, the report says.

In terms of damage to farm-to-market roads due to heavy rainfall and flooding, 51pc of the surveyed villages reported severe damage, 34pc moderate damage, 8pc slight damage and 7pc no damage.

Across the districts, severe damage to farm-to-market roads were reportedly highest in Jhal Magsi, Kachhi and Killa Saifullah.

Damage to farm-to-market roads as well as blockages and damage to highways is disrupting the food supply chain and causing shortage of food in local markets.

With regard to irrigation infrastructure, 40pc of the surveyed villages reported severe damage, 30pc moderate damage, 7pc each slight or no damage, and the irrigation infrastructure was not available in 15pc of the villages. Across the surveyed districts, damage to irrigation infrastructure was mostly reported in Jhal Magsi, Lasbela and Nushki.

Tube-wells, solar panels for irrigation of crops/orchards and irrigation channels are the most damaged irrigation infrastructure reported by the surveyed villages.

The livestock sub-sector has also been adversely affected by the calamity, causing immense livestock losses besides increasing the risk of livestock diseases and mortality among animals. Overall, 56,530 households (around 50pc) in the surveyed villages keep livestock, mostly in Jhal Magsi, Kalat, Kharan, Pishin and Lasbela.

Households with dead or lost livestock were mostly reported in Jhal Magsi, Lasbela, Killa Saifullah, Nushki and Khuzdar.

Goats are the most reported livestock perished by monsoon rains and floods. Around 29pc of livestock holders also lost fodder/feed stored for their livestock, mostly in Jhal Magsi, Nushki, Killa Saifullah, Kharan and Lasbela. Overall, 18,600 (46pc) of animal shelters/sheds were damaged, mainly in Jhal Magsi, Nushki, Killa Saifullah, Lasbela and Kharan.

Due to damage to farm-to-market roads and inter-district highways, the supply of livestock inputs has been affected, while short availability of fodder/feed stock in nearby livestock inputs markets is also a major concern for livestock holders.

Overall, 36pc of the surveyed villages reported no availability of fodder/feed stock in nearby livestock inputs markets, 56pc reported availability, and 8pc had no information. Across the surveyed districts, this issue was mainly reported in Jhal Magsi, Kalat, Kharan, Lasbela, Chaman and Pishin.

About 73pc of affected households have inadequate resources to purchase food from markets. The most households with inadequate resources for purchasing food are Lasbela (84pc) and Jhal Magsi (82pc), the report says.

On an average, households have 13 days of food stock for their own consumption. Among the districts, it was reported that households have least food storage in Chaman (five days), Lasbela (seven days) and Kachhi (seven days).

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2022

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