Pakistan, Afghanistan May Face Acute Food Shortages in Coming Months: UN

72


The two bodies have predicted a worse future for both countries if the economic and political crisis further deepens. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been officially declared as ‘early warning hotspots’

World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the two United Nations bodies, have said that Pakistan and its neighbour Afghanistan are among the countries with “acute food shortages.”

The two bodies have predicted a worse future for both countries if the economic and political crisis further deepens. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been officially declared as “early warning hotspots.”

Warnings on Pakistan and Afghanistan have been issued in a report jointly published by the FAO and the WFP from June to November, according to Khaama Press.

“Pakistan, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Syrian Arab Republic are hotspots with very high concern, and the warning is also extended to Myanmar in this edition,” WFP said in its report.

It added, “All these hotspots have a high number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life-threatening conditions in the coming months.”

Pakistan has been witnessing political turmoil for quite some time now. On top of that, Pakistan’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial bailout has been delayed for the past seven months. Pakistan has to pay USD 77.5 billion over the next three years, Khaama Press report. The repayment amount is “substantial” keeping in view Pakistan’s GDP of USD 350 billion in 2021.

The report said, “The political crisis and civil unrest are likely to worsen ahead of general elections scheduled for October 2023, amid growing insecurity in the northwest of the country. A shortage of foreign reserves and a depreciating currency are diminishing the country’s ability to import essential food items and energy supplies and increasing food items’ prices besides causing nationwide energy cuts.”

UN says that more than 8.5 million people in Pakistan will most likely face acute food shortages between September and December 2023. Meanwhile, over 70 per cent of Afghanistan’s population do not get two proper meals in a day currently.

Afghanistan has become insular after the Taliban assumed power in August 2021. The international community has not recognised the Taliban-led government. Meanwhile, instability in Pakistan has worsened the economy since lawmakers, the judiciary and the army continue to clash with each other.

In March-April, the Pakistan government set up distribution sites across the country to provide free flour to people to ease their burden amid rising prices. However, the initiative caused trouble in several places where the stampedes erupted, killing and injuring people.

Source: Firstpost