FAO calls for urgent international aid for Pakistani farmers

07:30, August 12, 2010      

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The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday urged the international community to promptly help save the lives of flood-stricken Pakistani farmers.

As the situation remains grave in Pakistan's deluged areas, the livelihood of millions of rural residents and the Asian country's overall food security have been seriously threatened, the Rome-based agency warned.

Together with other international partners, the FAO is scaling up funding and other response efforts to ensure that the urgent needs of Pakistani farmers are met on time.

As part of the Pakistan Initial Flood Response Plan, the FAO-led Agriculture Cluster on Wednesday appealed for 5.7 million U.S. dollars to kick-start time-critical livestock support programs, including urgent veterinary supplies to prevent animals from dying of starvation or disease.

Livestock is very important in the country not only because they serve as a source of food and draught power but also because they often represent a family's entire savings.

According to the FAO, so far 13.8 million people have reportedly been directly affected by the disaster, which has killed at least 1,500 people and tens of thousands of animals.

Total crop losses have been recorded in many areas, the agency said, noting that nearly 700,000 hectares of crops are under water or destroyed and many animals are without feed.

Also at risk is this year's autumn wheat crop in a region considered Pakistan's bread basket, the FAO said.

"The consequences for the local populations' food security are acute, as food prices have already started to rise sharply," said David Doolan, a senior FAO official in charge of the agency's programs in Pakistan.

Source: Xinhua


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