by Aun Ali
Pakistan’s massive floods destroyed not only standing crops of the season but also vast proportions of arable land and capacities of numerous farmers to cultivate crops in the upcoming seasons. The consequences are far reaching for an impoverished country that relies heavily on its agricultural productivity and employs two-thirds of its population in this sector.
Nearly 20 million people have been directly affected, most of whom are from the rural agricultural areas and depend on agriculture to meet their food and income needs. A great number of them have been uprooted from their lands, with their household assets, investments in farm tools and animals, and food stocks all destroyed by the floods. Submerged roads and fallen bridges have disconnected access of thousands other to the rest of Pakistan. They all lack proper shelter, food, clean water, medicine, and other basic supplies. At least six million are at risk of waterborne diseases, including an estimated 3.5 million children according to U.N.
However, if the situation is terribly bad now, the worst is yet to come.
With major crops damaged or destroyed over 3.6 million hectares of cultivated land and variable food supply expected from the unaffected regions, a famine-like food crisis is imminent in many parts of the country that could be in full swing by coming spring when Pakistan’s current food stocks will start to run out. The shockwaves will be so far reaching that even the unaffected regions will not be spared.
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