ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Pakistan floods-six month mark: ActionAid concerned over alarming increase in hunger, violence in flood hit areas

Islamabad: Saturday, Jan 29, 2011. International anti poverty agency ActionAid has raised concerns about growing hunger, food insecurity and gender based violence in the flood affected areas.

ActionAid Pakistan’s country representative Jemal Ahmed says “Through our close interaction with flood affected communities, we are much concerned about growing incidents of violence against women including harassment and domestic violence. Moreover, people are unable to produce food as most agricultural land has either been washed away, water logged or covered with sand. Malnourishment among children, pregnant and lactating mothers is dangerously high.”

“If food is not made available for flood affected people urgently, millions more will go hungry and secondary death toll may increase considerably. At the same time government should come up with a medium to long term comprehensive programme for the rehabilitation of agriculture and livelihood.”

According to national disaster management authority’s figures, more than 2 million hectares of cropped land has been affected by the floods. With an estimated 170,000 people still living in camps and makeshift arrangements, people’s capacity to grow food and engage in organised income generating activities is severely compromised.

Price hike and scarcity of cultivable land is making food unavailable and inaccessible for flood victims. Widespread loss of livestock and scarcity of other livelihood resources has pushed poor people into further poverty and vulnerability. On top of that, discrepancies and lack of gender focus in government’s compensation mechanisms has worsened the situation, in particular to women.

ActionAid with the financial support of donors and supporters has so far helped over 220,000 most vulnerable and poorest people with immediate relief including food, household kits, cash and material support for shelter reconstruction and livelihood support.

“ActionAid has raised £5.19 million till January 2011 for responding to the biggest humanitarian emergency and have helped people in some of the remotest areas to get back on their feet.

We specifically focus on reaching women and girls who, due to their vulnerability and low social position, have been the worst victims of the disaster. Their mobility has been further restricted in the post flood situation with minimum access to basic rights such as food support, Watan cards, and health and sanitation facilities. This has perpetuated their dependence on male family members increasing likelihood of domestic and other forms of violence.” Says Jemal Ahmed, ActionAid Pakistan’s country representative.

ENDS