No food shortage in Pakistan: NFRCC

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Death toll from floods crosses 1,600 mark

The National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) said on Friday that there was no shortage of food items in the country, as the death toll from devastating floods since June 14 crossed the 1,600 mark.

An intense and long monsoon dumped around three times as much rain on Pakistan than on average in recent weeks, causing major flooding which killed 1,606 people, including 579 children and 325 women, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

In its daily update, it said that 10 people have lost their lives in flood-affected areas, out of which six hailed from Balochistan and the remaining from Sindh.

This figure does not include those killed by disease in the aftermath.

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open and as flood waters spread over hundreds of kilometres start to recede. The calamity has not just destroyed houses and roads but also crops spread over millions of acres subsequently creating fears of a food shortage.

In the latest update on Friday, Pakistan’s top flood response centre said: “A huge stock of wheat for [the] next six months is available along with the strategic reserve which is sufficient till next harvesting season.”

Other than two million tons of strategic reserves, an import of additional stock of 1.8m tons is in progress out of which 0.6m tons has reached. The NFRCC said 46,000 tons of wheat from the public sector was being released on a daily basis.

The centre also gave a breakdown of certain crops and food stock.

It said that bumper tomato crops were harvested last year, which were more than sufficient to fulfil the country’s requirements. The NFRCC said a total of 7.5m tons of potatoes were harvested when the total requirement was 4.2m tons.

The forum said the import of onions and potatoes was in progress from Iran and Afghanistan. “In that regard, the government has directed to wave of all duties […] however the release/distribution of items is ensured [the] same day at earliest.”

The country’s rice requirement, the NFRCC said, could be fulfilled easily through available stock till December, adding that the next harvesting season would start in October.

 

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