Pakistan and Afghanistan struggle with food shortage, hotspots in the worldtext_fields
Islamabad: Pakistan and Afghanistan are among the countries that are most likely to face acute food security in the near future.
Between September and December 2023, over 8.5 million people in Pakistan are likely to struggle. The situation in Afghanistan is already dire with 70% of the people not getting two proper meals a day. Political crisis and decline of security in border areas have left households with a low ability to buy food and other essential goods, reported Khaama Press.
A report by UN bodies - Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) - said that if the economic and political crisis in these nations worsens, food shortage will also worsen in the coming months. Both countries have been declared "early warning hotspots."
"Pakistan, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Syrian Arab Republic are hotspots with very high concern, and the warning is also extended to Myanmar in this edition. All these hotspots have a high number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life-threatening conditions in the coming months," said the WFP report.
"The political crisis and civil unrest are likely to worsen ahead of general elections scheduled for October 2023, amid growing insecurity in the northwest of the country. A shortage of foreign reserves and a depreciating currency are diminishing the country's ability to import essential food items and energy supplies and increasing food items' prices besides causing nationwide energy cuts," it further said.
The Pakistan government's bailout deal with the IMF has been delayed for the past seven months.
In March-April, the government set up distribution sites to provide people with free flour. But it led to stampedes in which many were killed and injured. Mariyam Suleman Anees, a development specialist, wrote in Khaama Press: "Pakistanis are putting their lives at risk to collect something as basic as a sack of flour. It illustrates how the rising cost of food and other necessities is driving desperation and impacting the masses."