ISLAMABAD    -   Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Wednesday said Pakistan is faced with the threat of food insecurity as the floods have drowned vast swathes of agricultural land, and made the cost or availability of food a prohibitive commodity.

“The Hunger Hotspot Report 2022 (FAO-WFP early warnings on food in­security) shows that the impact of the floods will compound the rapid de­terioration of the country’s situation, driving food insecurity beyond the 4.7 million (26%) severely food insecure population in 3 provinces of the coun­try; Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh,” said the minister talking about food insecurity caused by flood losses. She said, “Not only have we lost the crops that were to be harvested, there are serious concerns over how much land will be available for up­coming planting (Rabi) season”. About the damages estimates, the minister indicated a loss of 74 percent of culti­vable land in Sindh alone; totaling to 3,410,743 acres. The province, which is considered Pakistan’s bread basket, has lost 100 percent of its cotton crop, 88 percent of vegetables, and 66 per­cent of rice to the floods. Nationally, over 4 million acres of agricultural land have been lost to the floods amounting to a financial loss of over 481m rupees.”

“Climate impacts will surely impact the nature of crops, soil fertility, pest attacks, irrigation requirements and water availability,” she said. Prior to the floods, heatwaves had caused a 5-10 percent decline in the coun­try’s wheat yields. It is difficult to gauge the true extent of the damage because of the stagnating floodwa­ter; the numbers from the aforemen­tioned initial estimates may increase as the water recedes and more accu­rate assessments can be carried out.