Pakistan's Balochistan province, battered by a harsh winter, a locust invasion, COVID-19, and drought-like conditions, faces a food emergency for about 500,000 people, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.
"An estimated 500,000 people are facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity while another 100,000 people require immediate life-saving assistance. The dry spell and reduced water availability are destroying crops and threatening the survival of livestock which are the main livelihood and food source for many families in the affected areas," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
Meteorologists forecast drought-like conditions through the end of the year for southwestern Balochistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan.
"Low rainfall during October 2020 to May 2021 has created severe drought-like conditions in parts of Balochistan province with six of the 12 central and southern districts being severely affected.
It is forecasted that drought-like conditions will continue in the affected districts until the end of the year, while Balochistan is still recovering from compound disasters that have affected the province in recent years, including a harsh winter, locust infestation and the COVID-19 pandemic," it added.
Assessments are underway as provincial disaster management authorities, the United Nations and food security sector partners support livelihood projects in some of the affected districts, OCHA said.
The Humanitarian Response Plan for Pakistan hopes to help 4.3 million people out of 11 million people in need, the office said, but that 332 million US dollar plan is just 18 per cent funded.
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