3.4 million children are facing chronic hunger in Pakistan

 76,000 children in flood affected areas now experiencing severe food shortages and risking severe malnutrition

According to the search conducted by International NGO ‘Save the Children’, more than 3.4 million children in Pakistan are facing chronic hunger. Nearly 76,000 children in flood-hit areas are now experiencing severe food shortages and risking severe malnutrition.

In a statement issued on Friday, the aid agency said that the number of people going hungry had soared in Pakistan by an alarming 45 per cent since floods wreaked havoc across much of the country, rising from 5.96 million people to 8.62 million, the majority of them in flood-affected regions.

 “Hunger levels are expected to rise further with the onset of winter, putting millions of young lives at risk if urgent action is not taken,” it warned.

The report highlighted that floods had devastated crops and livestock and, with goods scarce, prices had spiked. The cost of basic food items has also soared since the floods, making them unaffordable for many families who were living on next to nothing after losing their homes and incomes.

The Save the Children in its report pointed out that families were resorting to desperate measures to survive, going into debt or selling what little they have left to buy food, relying on charity, or sending their children to work. A quarter of desperate parents said they had been forced to send their children out to work to earn an income.

Incidents of child marriage were also reported in flood affected areas as  55 parents told Save the Children they had married off one of their children since the floods. Around the same number said they had no choice but to send their children out begging so that they could buy food.

‘Save the Children’ Country Director in Pakistan, Khurram Gondal, said in a statement that the true devastation caused by the foods was becoming clearer every day.

“As well as dealing with the wreckage, the country is now facing a full-blown hunger crisis. We simply cannot allow a situation where children are starving to death because we did not act quickly enough.”

                                                                        Rukhsana Manzoor deputy editor


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