Food security situation improved in FATA: WFP

Zubair Qureshi


Food security situation of returned households to their place of origin in Pakistan’s FATA Agencies has improved significantly since 2014 says a report launched here on Monday. The report ‘Food Security and Livelihoods Assessment of Returned Households Residing in FATA’ was launched today by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), under the leadership of the FATA Secretariat, indicating a consistent and significant drop in the total food insecurity rate in FATA between 2014 and 2017. The report was released at a ceremony held at the WFP Islamabad office.
This report is a follow-up to the 2014 ‘Returning Home’ assessment, and provides updated evidence regarding the food security, livelihoods and market situation in all seven FATA Agencies: Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, Orakzai, North Waziristan and South Waziristan. It finds that while in 2014, 44 percent of the population was defined as food insecure – in 2017 only 24 percent are in the same situation, where they do not have access to or cannot afford food sufficient for their daily dietary and nutritional needs.
And while in 2014 five percent of people were considered severely food insecure – having a severely inadequate diet in terms of quality and quantity– now only one percent of the population is in such a serious situation. The percentage of people who were moderately food insecure dropped from 39 percent to 23 percent over the three year period. The improvement was particularly dramatic among female-headed households, with those defined as severely food-insecure decreasing from 19 percent to 0 percent and moderately food insecure households decreasing from 55 percent to 15 percent.
The reasons for the improvement are various: families faced fewer shocks ranging from natural disasters to illness among people and livestock, they had access to better housing, improved water and sanitation and increased security. Some factors are a result of appropriate and timely food and cash assistance provided by various UN Agencies and partners to improve food security. Women and female-headed households are strongly encouraged to participate in assistance programmes.
I congratulate the FATA Secretariat not only for the crucial coordination role they played, but also for their active engagement throughout this study,’ said the WFP Country Director Finbarr Curran, ‘This report is evidence of the positive impact of the critical humanitarian and recovery support to displaced and returning families in the region that was provided under the leadership and vision of the FATA Secretariat’. WFP supports displaced and returning families in FATA through a variety of models including general food distribution, and by support for livelihoods, education and nutrition. In 2016 alone, WFP provided over US$ 117 million of assistance to displace and returning families.
Speaking at the event, Chief Guest Dr. Fida Muhammad Wazir, Additional Chief Secretary, FATA secretariat stated, ‘I thank the UN World Food Programme and other collaborating organizations for the commission and support to this significant study.’

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