`Pak farmers face worse flooding than last year`

Farmers in southern Pakistan are facing worse flood than last year, causing large-scale destruction to crops and livestocks.

Updated: Sep 26, 2011, 16:41 PM IST

New Delhi: Farmers in southern Pakistan are
facing worse flood than last year, causing large-scale destruction to crops and livestocks.

According to estimates, 73 per cent of crops and 67 per
cent of food stocks have been damaged in the flood-affected
districts of Sindh province besides killing nearly 78,000 head
of livestock.

The flood has been caused by heavy monsoon rains that
began in mid-August.

UN`s body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has
sought USD 18.9 million donor support to address the critical
needs of millions of rural families in Sindh and Balochistan
provinces.

FAO`s call for funds is part of the latest UN appeal for
Pakistan, and aims to provide emergency livestock support and
critical agriculture packages to over 3,00,000 needy families,
a FAO statement said.

This catastrophe struck even before families affected by
last year`s flooding were able to start recovering especially as Sindh did not receive as much assistance as other provinces in 2010, says the FAO report.

The floods and rain deepen the risk of losing more vital livestock assets and for some it is missing another opportunity to plant wheat and other essential crops.

One of the top priorities now is to prevent further
livestock losses. At least 5 million surviving animals are at
risk, lacking feed and shelter while facing increased exposure
to debilitating diseases and worm infestations, it said.

"Around 80 per cent of people in the affected area depend
on agriculture including livestock for a living," said
Luigi Damiani, FAO senior Emergency and Rehabilitation
Coordinator.

Restoring agricultural production is fundamental to the
recovery of farming-based livelihoods. Where planting is
possible, farmers need critical agricultural inputs, such as
seeds and fertiliser, in time for the upcoming Rabi winter
planting season.

The destruction of crops has wiped out farmers` present
and future sources of food and income, with spiralling
humanitarian consequences unless immediate assistance is
provided, the FAO report said.

Prior to the 2011 rains, it was estimated that families
affected by the 2010 floods would require three to four
cropping seasons to recover.

For many communities in southern Pakistan, the new
disaster compounds losses from last year`s floods, which
receded too late in many areas of Sindh to allow for winter
planting.

PTI