Dec 28, 2011

Sindh: Malnutrition Rates Calls for Humanitarian Action

Almost one quarter of Sindh population in Pakistan faces malnutrition. The International Committee of Red Cross assess it as an urgent humanitarian problem.

Below is an article published by the Dawn:

Sindh has the highest malnutrition rate in the country with 22.9 per cent of population in the northern part of the province and 21.2 per cent in the south facing the problem. The rate is well above the World Health Organisation’s 15 per cent emergency threshold which triggers a humanitarian response.

According to the World Disasters Report (WDR) 2011 prepared by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the problem has been exacerbated by floods that battered the province in 2010 and 2011.

The report, launched by the IFRC’s Head of Pakistan Delegation Karen Helene Bjornestad, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and partner national societies here on Monday, said the loss of food stocks and destruction of crops had added to food insecurity among the farming communities in the province.

The report said the world produced enough food to feed everyone, but in 2011 almost a billion men, women and children slept hungry every night.

The report is focused on the growing crisis of hunger and malnutrition.

“High level of malnutrition among the flood-affected communities of Pakistan is one of the most challenging humanitarian problems that we are faced with today,” Bjornestad said.

The IFRC, the largest humanitarian organisation in the world, operates through its member national societies in each country and in Pakistan it is the Pakistan Red Crescent Society which spearheads the activities.

National Disaster Management Authority chairman Zafar Iqbal Qadir said on the occasion that keeping in view the threat of food insecurity, improving agriculture practices was the only solution to prevent hunger.

He said the 2010 flood affected more than 20 million people and in the immediate aftermath of the natural disaster, malnutrition was identified as one of the key problems and infant feeding practices were assessed as having suffered directly from the catastrophe.