Food Insecurity Risks

Heavy rains and flash floods continue to wreak havoc across much of the country as over 900 people have lost their lives and about 50,000 people have been left homeless. Thousands of people whose homes have been swept away are now living in tents far away from their flooded villages and towns. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 126 people have been killed in flood-related incidents in the past 48 hours, with most of the victims being women and children.

Most of the devastation has taken place in Balochistan and Sindh, where 230 and 293 people have died respectively. This is an unprecedented situation which is extremely tragic given how disadvantaged segments of the population have suffered beyond measure. While dealing with the increasing severity of natural disasters is something that needs to be prioritised urgently, there is also a very serious concern about the resulting rise in the risk of food insecurity due to extreme climatic events.

Studies reveal that the country could face absolute water scarcity by 2025 and a rise in food insecurity following the increased frequency of low agricultural productivity. Pakistan has faced 152 extreme events due to climate change over the last two decades and has seen a shift in rainfall/precipitation patterns, intensity and frequency. Due to the rise in sea levels, the country has lost 1.8 million acres of arable land which is extremely concerning.

In order to adapt and cope with these challenges on the horizon, we will have to start acting and planning today. As it is, the country has a low adaptive capacity as it lacks institutional, financial and human resources. This is something that needs to be addressed as we need to work on implementing adaptation measures for water conservation, storage and efficiency. The severity of climate-related disasters is only going to increase every year and the environmental crisis facing the country is of an unprecedented magnitude. We need to reset our timelines and the climate adaptation targets we have set because we are running out of time and this is something that we owe to the coming generations.

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