Water scarcity on rise in Sindh: FAO

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Karachi—75% of the population in zones dependent on local rainfall for crop and livestock production lacked the resources to cover basic survival and livelihood protection needs. In short, an estimated 1,101,623 people fell below emergency-level thresholds.
This was revealed in two reports launched by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) funded these reports.
The “Household Economy Analysis (HEA)” and the “Sindh Drought Needs Assessment (SDNA)” reports were presented at a ceremony held in Karachi.
Where the HEA report covers the period up June 2015 , the SDNA reveals that 2013-2015 drought has increased water scarcity in Sindh province, causing large reductions in yields and abandonment of cultivation altogether in the most drought-affected zones.
Thanking FAO for the opportunity to participate in the survey, Mr Zafar Iqbal, Director National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) stretched out the key responsibility of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in preparing the communities and responding to emergencies and disasters. He also said NDMA‘s role was to strengthen and support PDMAs in taking care of their responsibilities.
The reports highlight the three categories of households that have clearly suffered from the drought: pastoralists (livestock breeders) who have lost up to two thirds of their animals and their income. Sharecroppers particularly in the West zone have also been forced to seek alternative livelihoods. They were already among the poorest of households and then there are agricultural laborers particularly women laborers who have been hit with dwindling labor opportunities.
Mr. Nasar Hayat, Assistant Country Representative FAO, speaking at the ceremony said: “The drought affected communities need our assistance to cope with the adverse effects of drought that are still present and persistent. The most vulnerable groups are the landless households, the sharecroppers and the smallholders, as well as the medium land holders in the most vulnerable zones.”
These reports recommend that households in the vulnerable zones should be the priority of drought-mitigation interventions.
In this connection Mr. Aleem Lashari , Director PDMA Sindh who was present at the ceremony pledged to make use of and exploit as much as possible the outcomes of the SDNA and HEA reports to build up the preparedness of PDMA.
Representatives from FAO, WFP, OCHA, Bureau of Statistics Sindh, Sindh Agriculture and Livestock departments, NHN, PHF and ECHO attended the ceremony.
Sindh Drought Needs Assessment (SDNA) was carried out to understand drought and its impacts on various sectors including livelihood, food security, nutrition, health, water, and sanitation in Sindh whereas the objective of the Household Economy Analysis (HEA) field assessment was to assess the impact of the 2013-2015 drought on local livelihoods in some of the worst drought affected districts of Sindh Province.
The results of these reports will assist the stakeholders, the Government of Pakistan, the Government of Sindh, national and international humanitarian actors to improve the decision making and design of interventions and programs.—NNI

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