Re-building Pakistan's Southern bread basket
In continued response to the 2011 floods in South Sindh, ACTED recently moved towards an early recovery phase in order to rebuild houses, income generating capabilities and infrastructure in Umerkot, Sanghar and Mirpur Khas Districts.
In July 2011 it began to rain in Pakistan. Summer was coming to a close and Bakher's cotton crop was almost due for harvest. As fall was ushered in, the rains continued - culminating in the death of almost 200 people, the displacement of over five million people, the destruction of one million homes and thousands of acres of agricultural land across South Sindh. Like most of the rural population in this area, Bakher and his family relied almost wholly on the few crops they were able to produce on an annual basis. Within a span of days, their entire livelihoods were wiped away.
Already based in Sindh responding to the 2010 emergency, ACTED was well prepared to react quickly to the floods in the South. Over the next few months ACTED provided extensive food, non-food and hygiene emergency support to over half a million flood-affected beneficiaries like Bakher Mal. Nine months later, ACTED has begun working towards re-building the lives of families and communities alongside continued support for their daily needs. During the emergency, the government called for activities targeting food security, health, shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene. While these areas continue to be a focus of activities in South Sindh, the early recovery framework calls for a renewed attention to community restoration, education, nutrition and protection.
6,500 metric tons of food
4,800 shelter kits
6,000 non-food item kits
1,500 emergency relief kits
820 hygiene kits
In Umerkot, Sanghar and Mirpur Khas districts, food and shelter insecurity and lack of access to water or sanitation facilities remains a challenge. ACTED has begun implementing projects that, while highlighting these continuing emergency needs, encourages communities to resume income generating activities by preparing, repairing or constructing agricultural land and agricultural/community infrastructure, alongside the US Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance, EADS and the World Food Programme.
Targeted households in the three districts are receiving permanent shelters so they can focus on finding and gaining food and income to support their families. Agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and kitchen garden kits are being distributed to farmers who lost their agricultural land and assets. Infrastructure rehabilitation activities further assist farming families in these districts while injecting cash and food into communities to ease the immediate needs of vulnerable laborers. All beneficiaries also receive training to ensure that all are truly able to restart sustainable livelihood activities.
Bakher and his family welcomed the relief they received from ACTED following the floods. But they, as in all of South Sindh, have many needs to be met and communities have much work to do before their lives are fully back to normal. An organizational and national shift in priorities will help this region get back on its feet and to advance beyond the poverty that affected the area even prior to the devastating floods.
With the period of Ramadan, food insecurity in Pakistan will see a significant rise. In 2011, it was observed that prices of essential food items in Pakistan increased by 17% during the month of Ramadan (according to Oxfam International). A United Nations Millennium Development Goals report states that two-digit inflation, notably on food prices, has already significantly decreased the purchasing power of people, especially the poor in 2012. Around 60% of Pakistan’s total population is facing food insecurity as reported by Pakistan’s 2011 National Nutrition Survey. This number is expected to increase significantly with rising inflation and food prices within the coming month.
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