International agencies have warned that the number of acutely hungry people in Pakistan is expected to rise substantially since at least 43 per cent of the population was said to be food insecure even before the catastrophic floods hit the country.
Some 21 million acres of crops were under water, and an estimated 65 per cent of Pakistan's food basket -- crops like rice and wheat -- had been destroyed with over 7,33,000 livestock reportedly killed, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday.
The recent flooding in Pakistan that has led to an estimated USD 12 billion in losses has left about 78,000 square kilometres (21 million acres) of crops under water.
The floods, which have also negatively affected food delivery in neighbouring Afghanistan, have left more than 1,400 persons dead in Pakistan since early June.
Meanwhile, the director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Qu Dongyu, on Tuesday affirmed that the organisation would continue its support to Pakistan in addressing the effects of the floods on the agriculture sector.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also Tuesday opened an emergency operations centre in Swat and provided urgently needed essential medicines in the area.
The organisation has donated essential equipment such as operation theatre lights and anaesthesia machines and has set up an emergency operations centre to be the central hub for disseminating water purification tablets, vaccines and nutritional supplements.
During a visit to the centre, WHO’s representative in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala, emphasised the importance of vaccinating children against preventable diseases.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, separately at the launch of a multi-agency scientific report reviewing the latest research on climate change, on Tuesday noted: “Heatwaves in Europe. Colossal floods in Pakistan... There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters.”
The UN chief declared that climate change impacts were “heading into uncharted territories of destruction” as he unveiled the "United in Science" report that said the earth was inching closer to dangerous climate tipping points.
The report warned that the world was “going in the wrong direction” with greenhouse gas concentrations continuing to rise in the atmosphere and world leaders failing to adopt strategies to hold global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.
Guterres, who recently concluded a visit to Pakistan’s flood-hit areas, had on August 30 pleaded with the international community to support the flood-torn country facing the worst floods in the past three decades.
Economists say the floods would cause an estimated loss of more than USD 22 billion as every seventh person in the country faces the wrath of the floods that have submerged a third of Pakistan.
Renowned economist Dr Hafiz A Pasha, according to Geo News, estimated the total accumulated losses caused by severe floods on account of GDP growth, capital assets, livestock and others have touched the USD 22 to USD 24 billion mark.
He expressed fears that the total losses on all accounts might rise to USD 30 billion mark for Pakistan’s struggling economy.
(With PTI inputs)