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Pak Planning Minister warns of acute food shortage

2022 Aug 30, 15:12, Islamabad [Pakistan]
Pakistan's Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal (ANI)

As Pakistan continues to battle the country's worst monsoon floods, the Federal Minister of Planning and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Monday warned that the country will be confronted with acute food shortages in the near term.

As a consequence of the current countrywide destruction done by the floods, the minister said that it might take five years to rebuild and rehabilitate the nation, Geo News reported.

Iqbal said that the people have lost their complete livelihoods in this disaster and rated the recent floods worst than those that hit Pakistan in 2010, for which United Nations (UN) had issued its largest ever disaster appeal.

Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have washed away roads, crops, infrastructure, and bridges, affecting tens of thousands of livelihoods in the country.

Pakistan has appealed for international help and some countries have already sent in supplies and rescue teams.

However, Iqbal said any formal requests for financial help would need to wait until the scale of the damage was known, something Pakistan was now evaluating with partners, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Geo News reported.

The country's Finance Minister Miftah Ismail also had said the flash floods have inflicted a loss of at least USD 10 billion on different sectors of its economy. However, the minister said, he did not have the details of the losses faced by each sector of the economy at the moment.

"These were the initial assessments that might escalate after conducting surveys on the ground," Miftah added.

He also said that the country's government "can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India" for the facilitation of the people in wake of the destruction of standing crops in Pakistan due to recent floods.

Minister Ismail was speaking to the local media on a range of issues including the devastating floods, the poor state of the Pakistani economy and protests by Imran Khan-led PTI.

In Pakistan, over 5.7 million people have been affected in Pakistan as the country faces the worst rain-induced flooding in its history. The rescue, relief, and rehabilitation in the country continue.

At least 1,033 people have died while 1,527 have been injured since June 14 from the rains and floods, Geo News reported citing National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Cumulative data from June 14 from across Pakistan showed that 3,451.5 km of road has been damaged, 149 bridges have collapsed, and 170 shops were destroyed.

A total of 949,858 homes have been partially or fully destroyed. Out of the total, 662,446 homes have been partially damaged, and 287,412 have been fully destroyed. While 719,558 livestock has also been killed.

Around 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been impacted, including at least 304,000 acres in Balochistan, 178,000 acres in Punjab and some 1.54 million acres in Sindh.

Sherry Rehman, the climate change minister, has called the situation a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions."

Considering the severity of the disaster, the Pakistan government declared it a "natural emergency".

Analysts say the impact could be devastating for the country, which was already in the midst of an economic crisis, faced with high inflation, a depreciating currency and a current account deficit.


Pakistan Floods natural disaster Minister of Planning and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Pakistan Flood situation Finance Minister Miftah Ismail
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