After the disastrous floods that rocked Pakistan earlier last year, the World Bank has released a new report showing that an astounding six million people are presently facing severe food insecurity.
More than 11 million heads of livestock were lost and more than 9.4 million acres of crops were destroyed in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh during the floods that occurred between June and August 2022. These provinces were already among the most food-insecure in the country.
Between September and December, the World Food Programme (WFP) predicts that the number of people facing food insecurity would rise to 8.5 million.
The World Bank’s January 2023 update on food security also noted the country of Pakistan’s sharp rise in food price inflation. There was a sharp increase in food prices from 8.3% in October 2021 and 15.3% in March 2022 to 31.7% in September 2022 and 35.0% in December 2022.
The analysis found that the high food inflation was caused by climatological shocks, the depletion of foreign currency reserves, and the devaluation of local currencies, all of which have contributed to the rising cost of food in South Asia.
The floods induced by heavier than usual monsoon rains in certain regions of South Asia and lighter than usual rainfall in other sections have had a significant impact on food production across the region, as was mentioned in the update.
For December 2022, food price inflation was 7.9% in Bangladesh, 7.4% in Nepal, 35.50% in Pakistan, and 64.4% in Sri Lanka over the previous year.
The World Bank has urged immediate action from the government and the international community in order to combat the worsening food insecurity problem in Pakistan.