For many in the West, The Hunger Games is a box-office hit and a bestselling novel. For most Pakistanis, however, hunger games are no work of fiction. While several million Pakistanis are starving where only eight per cent of the children receive minimum acceptable diet, the government in Islamabad is finalising the budget, which if previous budgets are any indication, is unlikely to address hunger and misery that has spread to every nook and cranny in the country.
Madam, malnutrition is a pathological condition resulting from deficiency of one or more nutrients and has a wide range of clinical manifestations. Children are amongst the worst-affected groups. In 2001, it was noted that malnutrition caused 54% deaths in children living in developing countries.1 The World Health Organization through the Millennium Development Goal 4 has recognized that improved nutrition is crucial in reducing the under-5-years mortality,especially in the developing countries.2
Laying its special emphasis in our part of the world, the percentage of malnourished children is highest in Asia with 70% of undernourished children living in this part of the world. In South Asia, one out of two preschoolers is underweight and has stunted growth.3 In Pakistan,33.03% (CI= 27.96-38.54)of children under the age of 5 are underweight, 53.38% of the children are stunted and wasting has been reported in 11.52% of the children,4 which clearly shows that the nutritional status in this country is poor.Goiter caused by iodine deficiency is also common with the highest cases reported in Pakistan, India and parts of Indonesia.3
Marasmus, Kwashiorkor or Marasmus Kwashiorkor will probably develop in a child who is malnourished for a prolonged period of time leading to an increased mortality. Children who are undernourished are more susceptible to the effects of infectious diseases compared to children who are adequately nourished.1 Infections can in turn lead to more undernourishment as food intake is decreased during infection and this turns into a vicious cycle.
One of the possible causes of such status could be declined production of food.1 Many landscapes that were once fertile are deemed barren due to environmental pollution caused by mankind. This in turn leads to less land that is available for farming and ultimately food production per acre is insufficient to touch base with other countries. Poverty, unawareness, population growth, political instability, loss of food stock due to poor harvest and natural calamities are some of the important factors causing malnutrition amongst children. Malnutrition in Pakistani children has been directly linked to illiteracy of mothers, low family income and larger family size.5 Maternal undernourishment is also a contributing factor to babies being born with low-birth-weight.1 The increased basal metabolic rate due to acute and chronic illnesses may also precipitate the pre-existing malnutrition.
KARACHI / ISLAMABAD / HYDERABAD: As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took serious notice of the appalling number of child deaths in Tharparkar, Sindh, one more infant died on Friday, taking the toll to 122 in three months.
The five-month-old Farzana, who was brought from Thar to Civil Hospital, Hyderabad, suffered from pneumonia and appeared malnourished, said Dr Akram Shaikh.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Army troops from Hyderabad Garrison left for the drought-affected areas on the directives of the prime minister. The contingents, carrying immediate relief goods and rations, are also taking lady doctors, paramedical staff and medicines with them.
KARACHI: Despite having 14 million acres under crop cultivation in Sindh, over 71 per cent households in the province are food insecure — the highest level of food insecurity among the provinces and region, it emerged on Sunday.
Of these food insecure households, 34pc are food insecure with moderate hunger and 17pc are food insecure with severe hunger, according to a report drafted by the provincial planning and development department.
The department prepared the draft in January ‘for discussion’ by its own research assisted with several reports of the World Bank, London School of Economics, World Health Organization, Unicef, Lancet, Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement, Save the Children, SDPI, SDC, World Food Programme and several independent researchers.
Between 2003-04 and 2008-09, the number of surplus food producing districts decreased from 11 to six while the number of food deficit districts increased, the report said.
Eight of Sindh’s 23 districts, most of them in the southern part of the province and in its coastal belt were identified as having ‘extremely poor’ conditions for access to food.
– Sluggish donor response to Pakistan floods is another disaster in the making: Oxfam
Islamabad – International aid agency Oxfam expressed alarm over the floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as only $1.30 has been committed per person by international donors in the first 10 days of the UN appeal as opposed to $3.20 committed in the same period during last year’s floods.
Oxfam calls on the Government of Pakistan and the international donor community to dig deep into their resources and rapidly increase their funding to prevent the disaster from deteriorating further. The agency warns that the situation of millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan will worsen unless more aid arrives.
According to the latest figures, more than 8.8 million people in Sindh and 14,000 people in Balochistan so far have been affected by the 2011 monsoon rains. The human impact of this disaster in terms of the number of people affected is more than the combined impact of the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Reported losses are being estimated at $215 million, and that number is likely to increase as some areas are inaccessible, and the impact of the floods cannot be assessed. ….
Read more → Aboard the Democracy Train
…. Last year, donors generously funded the relief work but they must have been shocked to see the way it was managed. Donated materials included food and non-food items, which generally did not reach the needy people on merit. A lot of it was openly sold in the markets or distributed among party loyalists. Moreover, in some places, it was dumped without any reason.
For example, in district Dadu, more than 10,000 mineral water bottles, 12,000 blankets, thousands of warm clothes and drinking water tanks have been destroyed by the recent heavy rains in the area. They did not distribute the items among the people, letting them rot away since last year’s floods in the district. This is a criminal act. ….
Read more → Daily Times
– ISLAMABAD – The National Nutrition Survey (NNS 2011), which was launched on Saturday, showed that Sindh had one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country.
In Sindh 17.5 per cent of children under five years suffer from acute malnutrition, nearly seven per cent being severely malnourished. These results are way above WHO’s emergency threshold of 15 per cent, which indicates a critical nutrition situation. In addition, half of all children are stunted, a sign of long-term malnutrition.
The NNS 2011 also reports Sindh as the province with the highest proportion of food insecure people. Nearly 72 per cent of the population is food insecure and do not have access to enough food.
The situation can only be expected to get worse with the onset of current floods and the resulting loss of property, food stocks and the damage to standing crops. Last year’s post-flood nutrition survey had reported acute malnutrition rates as high as 23.1 per cent in the affected areas of Sindh. ….
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started distribution of food in the flood-affected areas of lower Sindh and is scaling up its efforts rapidly. “The WFP is taking practical steps to stabilise and improve the nutritional levels of the affected population. …
Wow!!! What a brave woman. Asma Jahangir giving her straight forward opinion about the political role of Pakistan Army generals in Duniya News program ‘Cross Fire’ with Mehar Bukhari. Pakistani generals have looted the country since 1958. People are living in poverty and they have all the luxuary of life. Their children go to the best schools and poor have no access to schools. THis is all done on poor Pakistan’s budget. The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
by Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Singapore
“Pakistan received $23.4 billion of foreign aid in the last decade.”
Where did this money and other billions of dollars that this country has received from all over the world GO?
Has been spent on schools, education – NO! Has it been spent on alleviating the miseries, deprivations and poverty of millions of poor people – NO! Has the money been spent to provide decent Health Care – certainly, NOT! So, where is the money going?
WB and IMF are gladly dishing out billions to these culprits, thieves, robbers, and leeches who rule this country – just for their own benefits and carrying forward their own nefarious, selfish, self-seeking Agenda!
They show the photographs of Sindh, where there is chronic poverty and desease to beg money from WB and IMF.
Once received this money goes to the security establishment and the ugly animals in the Governments! The photograph shows Sindhi innocent infants, toddlers and children crying for food and milk! Height of Inhumanity! Height of Injustice!
Civilised world should take cognizance of thwart is happening in this country. The Security establishment, the Government and tyrants should be taken to the International Criminal Court and tried for crimes against humanity!
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 19, 2011.
Pakistan has had a turbulent history. And it remains in turmoil with growing internal instability and rising conflicts with its neighbours. Despite the return to civilian rule, the politics of the country has remained closely linked to the military, one of Pakistan’s most powerful institutions. The generals while projecting their utility are virtually in control. Interestingly, while Pakistan suffers economic difficulties, frequent political crises and issues like unemployment, illiteracy and malnutrition, the top brass of the army is making huge amounts of money through the corporate sector and controls large tracts of real estate. The Auditor General of Pakistan revealed that the army is using government land falling in A-1 category worth 1.4 billion USD (Rs. 120.767 billion) for commercial purposes.
The one & only political party of Pakistan which has almost 7 Lacs (seven hundered thousands) armed & trained members paid by govt from tax payers money. “Army forcibly takes its resources from civilians”. It will tell you why politicians are weak in this country. un ki koi sunta hi nahi.
Pakistan ‘crop shortage’ warning
By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad
Lowering wheat prices would create food shortages in Pakistan and encourage smuggling, officials say, responding to criticism from the UN.
On Wednesday the UN’s food relief agency said the government set prices too high and malnutrition was rising.
But an official at Pakistan’s food ministry told the BBC farmers would simply switch to more lucrative crops if wheat prices went down.
Devastating floods across Pakistan in 2010 damaged acres of arable land.
Although crop yields in 2011 are projected to be healthy, prices are too high for an impoverished population, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme told journalists on the sidelines of humanitarian meetings in Geneva on Wednesday.
“The crop outlook is not bad but the food security situation remains difficult because prices remain so high,” Wolfgang Herbinger said.
Malnutrition levels in the southern province of Sindh had reached 21% to 23%, according to the WFP.
“That is well above African standards. The emergency standard is 15%,” Mr Herbinger said. …
Read more : BBC
SINDH: KARACHI – The worst victims of the last year’s flood have been the women of the province as the government and other relief agencies did not give them priority while their issues still remain largely unaddressed.
This was pointed out by speakers at a dialogue held on women rights hosted by women wing of Sindhi Association of North America. SANA vice-president Noor Nisa Ghanghro presided over the session, which was attended by a large number of political and women rights’ activists.
The speakers emphasised that all poverty-alleviation programmes must address the gender poverty issue while particularly focusing on rural women
Expressing grave concern over a recent report from the flood-hit areas of Sindh that over a million rural women were suffering from blood anaemia, they demanded that the authorities concerned should take the issue seriously and immediately help the womenfolk of the province. …
Read more : Pakistan Today
Pakistan’s Federal Assembly Canteen price list: Tea Rs.1.00, Chicken Soup Rs.5.50, Dal Rs.1.50, Meals Rs.2.00, Chappati Rs.1.00, Dosa Rs.4.00, Veg Briyani Rs.8.00, Fish Rs.13.00. The language of the program is urdu/ Hindi.
Courtesy: Dunya TV (Program Hasb e Haal with Sohail Ahmed, Junaid Saleem and Najia Baig)
– You Tube
Gulf News Editorial: Humanitarian bodies must ensure food and medical aid reach those affected by floods
Time has stopped for the hapless survivors in Sindh whose lives were turned upside down by the severe floods that hit the Pakistani province last year.
Surveys carried out in the wake of that disaster have revealed the extent of acute malnutrition in the region. The issue has been highlighted only recently due to prevailing social conditions and the lack of contact between the people and medical experts. Poverty levels have been at an all-time high for decades as a result of which the lives of thousands of children are also at risk.
Unicef has found that the percentage of those hit by the problem is higher than the 15 per cent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and on par with the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It has also been noted that women form a larger part of the overall figure.
While efforts are being made to address this problem, humanitarian organisations must galvanise themselves to ensure that the thousands who have been affected can obtain food and medical relief. …
Read more : Gulfnews
– The natural consequences – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
The unbridled expenditure on militaries and weapons by countries to create ‘national security states’ not only promotes war-mongering and indiscriminate use of force but also leaves people perpetually tottering on the brink of an abyss. This folly is akin to credit card use: carefree fun initially and desperation at payback time. Unfortunately, it is the innocents who pay the price with interest while big guns find refuge in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The madness of diverting resources primarily towards military strength cannot be achieved without disregard for people’s rights. Such countries are essentially internally repressive and jingoistic in external relations. Naturally, the countries that neglect the human suffering dimensions of their waste of resources not only lag behind but start regressing, slowly becoming derelict and decrepit. …
Read more : Daily Times
To prevent a Chad-like situation
The national dailies have reported from Islamabad (Jan. 27) by quoting UNICEF as saying: “Pakistan’s Sindh province, hit hard by last year’s floods, is suffering levels of malnutrition almost as critical as Chad and Niger, with hundreds of thousands of children at risk, UNICEF said on Wednesday (Jan 26)”. …
Read more : The Nation
by Sudhir Gandotra
– Time for a Non-violent-comprehensive revolution in India! Lets get rid of all violence in & around us! Join and also invite all your friends! Peace in the heart, light in the understanding .. “Working for a Violence-free World”
“With 83% living on >20 rupees a day, 25% sleeping hungry ever night, prices rising daily, farmers committing suicide, increasing poverty-malnutrition-hunger-suicides, India is far away from Real-Democracy. It is time to wake up and take responsibility of the nation, take inspiration from the non-violent wave of transformation happening from Tunisia, through Egypt to other parts of the world, and to bring about a complete non-violent revolution in India in order to establish a Real democracy that can give a Dignified life to all the people without any discrimination whatsoever immediately. We do not lack resources for this. Only the willingness is missing as the scamster-corrupt-mafia-masquerading-politicians are working with the sole interest of taking India’s money to tax-heavens. This must stop NOW !”
“The hero of this age flies towards the stars.” – The Inner Look, XX. Internal Reality.
Silo (Mario Rodriguez Cobos) January 6, 1938 – September 16, 2010 – “You go deep into yourself, I go deep into myself and there we meet.”
Sudhir Gandotra’s blog – http://blog.sudhirgandotra.org/
Pakistan flood crisis as bad as African famines, UN says
Survey shows almost a quarter of children under five are malnourished in Sindh province, six months after floods
– Declan Walsh in Islamabad
A “humanitarian crisis of epic proportions” is unfolding in flood-hit areas of southern Pakistan where malnutrition rates rival those of African countries affected by famine, according to the United Nations.
In Sindh province, where some villages are still under water six months after the floods, almost one quarter of children under five are malnourished while 6% are severely underfed, a Floods Assessment Needs survey has found.
“I haven’t seen malnutrition this bad since the worst of the famine in Ethiopia, Darfur and Chad. It’s shockingly bad,” said Karen Allen, deputy head of Unicef in Pakistan. …
Read more : Guardian.co.uk
. Pakistan’s Sindh province faces acute hunger: UNICEF
By Chris Allbritton
(Reuters) – Pakistan’s Sindh province, hit hard by last year’s floods, is suffering levels of malnutrition almost as critical as Chad and Niger, with hundreds of thousands of children at risk, UNICEF said on Wednesday.
A survey conducted by the provincial government and the U.N. Children’s Fund revealed malnutrition rates of 23.1 percent in northern Sindh and 21.2 percent in the south.
Those rates are above the 15 percent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organization and are on a par with some of the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Northern Sindh also had a 6.1 percent severe acute malnutrition rate and southern Sindh had 2.9 percent, both far above the WHO thresholds.
“We are looking at hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” UNICEF chief of communication Kristen Elsby told Reuters.
A full report would be released Friday by the Sindh government, she said, along with the province’s response plan. …
Drowning humanitarian aid – by Christopher Stokes
Barely hidden beneath the surface of Pakistan’s worst flooding in living memory were the geopolitical stakes shaping both the justifications for official Western assistance and how aid was delivered to victims of the disaster. The perverse result may be a further restricting of the ability of humanitarian aid workers to assist the Pakistani population in the most volatile areas of the country. ….
….. The people I saw in the camps in the flood-devastated region of Sindh last week are the poorest of the poor. They had very little and lost everything. Their children are now filling our malnutrition treatment centers. They deserve to be helped ….
To read full article : ForeignPolicy