ISLAMABAD: The supplemental report to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) of Pakistan Floods 2022 fears that an additional 1.9 million households — around 12.1 million people — will be pushed into multidimensional poverty in calamity-hit districts of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

These individuals and households will experience significantly increased deprivations around access to adequate health, sanitation, quality maternal care, electricity, and loss of assets. Estimates indicate an increase in multi-dimensional poverty from 37.8 per cent to 43.7 per cent, according to the supplement report published on Thursday.

The number of additional households falling into non-monetary poverty will be the highest in Sindh (4.8 million households), followed by KP (4.6 million households), and Punjab and Balochistan (both with an additional 1.2 million households). However, poverty rates will be the highest in Balochistan (81.1pc), followed by KP (60.6pc) and Sindh (54.9pc).

The report says between 87pc and 91pc of households in flood-affected rural areas are owner-occupiers, urban areas have a higher share of tenants (18 to 31pc). Female-headed households are a small share of the owned units in affected provinces, ranging between 4pc in rural Balochistan and 11pc in urban Sindh.

Led by the Planning Commission and supported by ADB, the European Union and the United Nations, the supplemental report provides further analysis of the human impact assessment and the full 17 sector assessment.

The geographic coverage of the PDNA is limited to 94 calamity-hit districts as of October 11, 2022, in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.

Analysis of multidimensional poverty at the national level indicates an increase from 11.3pc to 15.5pc of the population in calamity-hit districts will be deprived of access to an improved source of water, representing an additional 1.5m households. Limited access to safe drinking water will increase the risk of waterborne and communicable diseases and infections, thus placing more pressure on overstretched health services, perpetuating a vicious cycle of disease and poverty.

Estimates indicate that the food-insecure population will increase from 7m to 14.6m people in the calamity-hit districts. The additional number of people in need of food assistance is the highest in Sindh (4.3m), followed by KP (1.7m), Punjab (0.9m), and Balochistan (0.8m).

The most impacted population groups include marginalised poor people who are dependent on informal labour/agriculture wage labour, persons with disabilities, and smallholders who cannot afford to buy agricultural inputs to resume their farming activities. Expected delays in the sowing of rabi crops, particularly wheat, is likely to further exacerbate the already precarious food security situation.

Food shortages and widespread disease associated with increased deprivation on access to safe drinking water and sanitation will have a significant impact on stunting rates in the long term.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2022

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