Pakistan has no food crisis, but 1,600 people have died in floods

The National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) stated on Friday that there was no food scarcity in the country as the death toll from severe floods since June 14 exceeded 1,600.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, 1,606 people, including 579 children and 325 women, perished due to catastrophic floods caused by an intense and prolonged monsoon that dumped around three times as much rain on Pakistan as usual during the past few weeks (NDMA).

According to its daily update, ten persons have perished in flood-affected areas, six of whom were from Balochistan and the remaining four from Sindh. This number does not include people killed by sickness due to the disaster.

As flood waters covering hundreds of kilometers begin to subside, hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods live outside. The disaster has wrecked homes and roadways and crops on millions of acres, causing fears of a food shortage.

Today’s most recent statement from Pakistan’s top flood response center stated, “A large supply of wheat is available for the next six months, combined with a strategic reserve that is sufficient until the next harvesting season.”

In addition to two million tons of strategic reserves, an import of additional stock of 1.8 million tons is currently underway, of which 0.6 million tones have been delivered. Furthermore, the NFRCC stated that the public sector was releasing 46,000 tons of wheat every day.

The center also provided a breakdown of particular crops and food supplies.

It was stated that last year’s tomato harvest was bountiful, sufficient to meet the country’s needs. In addition, the NFRCC reported that 7.5 million tons of potatoes were harvested when the entire market was 4.2 million.

According to the forum, imports of onions and potatoes from Iran and Afghanistan have begun. “In this regard, the government has waived all duties […] However, the release/distribution of items is guaranteed on the same day.”

The NFRCC stated that the country’s rice needs could be easily met through available stocks until December and that the next harvesting season will begin in October.

In a nutshell, the country has a sufficient supply of food and nourishment products, and steps have been taken to increase its capacity, according to the NFRCC.

However, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail told the reporters on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly that the country may have to purchase wheat if the crop is not planted on time.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is anticipated to make his debut on the international scene later today when he addresses a meeting of world leaders at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

He is anticipated to highlight the vast devastation caused by climate-induced floods and will request international assistance to combat the crisis.

Delay in repayment of agricultural loans

In the meantime, Minister for Water Resources Khursheed Shah stated at a meeting today that he will speak with the prime minister about delaying the repayment of agricultural loans to farmers.

Later in the day, the Information Minister of Sindh, Sharjeel Inam Memon, issued a similar news release.

He promised that measures would be taken to assist the farmers.

“To provide relief to farmers, the Sindh government has set the support price of wheat at Rs4000 per 40kg for the next year’s harvest,” he said, adding that all available resources were being used to drain water from agricultural lands so that farmers could resume sowing for the next harvest.

A disease outbreak afflicted Sindh

The most recent report from the Sindh Directorate General of Health Services indicated that 79,556 people had reported to medical camps in the previous twenty-four hours. In addition, there were 14,653 cases of diarrheic disease, 14,364 cases of skin disorders, 796 cases of malaria, and 53 cases of dengue.

It stated that in the previous twenty-four hours, four persons had perished.

Since July 1, 2,9 million people have been treated at the province’s medical camps.

Today, in a meeting, the Chief Secretary of Sindh, Muhammad Sohail Rajput, stated that flood victims in Sindh were at risk of contracting malaria, gastroenteritis, and other diseases from stagnant water.

He stated that the federal cabinet had approved buying six billion drugs for Sindh and that the World Health Organization was also providing malaria and dengue kits (WHO).

“We have also decided to hire 2,500 additional physicians and paramedics to work in the flood-affected districts,” Rajput said.

The water level of the River Indus

The chief secretary further reported that the water level in Manchhar Lake had dropped to 119 feet and that dewatering effort were underway in Dadu and Jamshoro.

Memon reported that the water level at two Indus River barrages had dropped below 100,000 cusecs.

Guddu Barrage has an intake of 87,300 cusecs and an outflow of 76,000 cusecs, while Sukkur Barrage has an inflow of 92,200 cusecs and an outpouring of 82,000 cusecs.

Memon stated that the inflow and outflow of Kotri Barrage were 203,100 and 199,300 cusecs, respectively.

He noted that flood-affected residents have begun returning to locations where water had been drained.

Islamabad and portions of Punjab should expect rainfall.

The Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) stated in its daily situation report that the meteorological department has predicted: “heavy to hefty rainfall” for the higher catchment areas of the River Sutlej.

“Scattered thunderstorms/rain of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls is forecast over the upper catchments of the rivers Indus, Jehlum, Chenab, and Ravi, as well as the divisions of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Sahiwal,” the report stated.

The PDMA cautioned that the rain could raise the water levels in rivers’ associated streams.

In addition, preventative measures have been issued for those living nearby, and the administration has been advised to construct safe locations and relief camps.

To prevent pandemic infections, the health department should mobilize health teams to administer first assistance to those affected. “To prevent rain-borne infections, medical sprays should be sprinkled in designated areas,” the PDMA added.