The World Food Program said it is increasing emergency aid to reach 1.9 million people in Pakistan devastated by the worst floods to hit the country in more than a century.

WFP spokesman Thomson Phiri said emergency food aid already has been distributed to more than 400,000 people in the hardest hit Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh provinces.  He said the WFP is continuing to expand its operations across the country.

“We have reached 400,000 people, but of course, the floods have affected a record 33 million people and it is the deadliest in more than a decade,” he said.    

The United Nations said torrential rains have inundated a third of the country, killing some 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. It said more than half a million homes have been destroyed, hundreds of bridges and roads demolished or washed away, cutting off vulnerable communities from humanitarian assistance.  

Phiri said more than 630,000 people are in overcrowded relief camps where they are exposed to outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

“In addition to food distribution, the World Food Program is providing specialized, nutritious food for 31,000 young children and 28,000 pregnant and nursing women to prevent malnutrition and boost their immunity,” he said.  

Phiri said the WFP is looking beyond the emergency phase of its operation. He said Pakistan needs longer-term support to restore people’s livelihoods.

“Once the initial relief response is concluded, the World Food Program will immediately implement recovery programs to improve community infrastructure, create livelihood opportunities and boost resilience, combined with cash-based transfers, through early 2023,” he said.   

Phiri said the WFP will be working closely with the government to help communities strengthen their ability to withstand climatic shocks. He said some of the projects include plans to create irrigation channels and dams in drought- and flood-prone areas.  He noted both men and women will be given vocational training and income-generating activities to boost their livelihood prospects.

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