According to the latest report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), “one in five children under [the age of] five in Pakistan suffer from wasting.” The rate of severe acute malnutrition stands at 8 percent and moderate acute malnutrition is 9.7 percent among children under five, states the report.
Approximately 10.5 million people in 43 vulnerable districts of Pakistan are facing acute food insecurity, as of June 5, 2023, according to the report.
Pakistan has been classified as a “hotspot with very high concerns” revealing the level of acute food insecurity in the country. Nearly a year after massive floods ravaged one-third of the country, people in flood-affected areas are suffering from high rates of malnutrition.
Forty-three districts, including 18 in Balochistan, 16 in Sindh, and nine in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which were severely affected by the 2022 flooding, are now facing acute food insecurity. According to UN estimates, undernutrition accounts for nearly half of all deaths in children under five.
The report mentions that “Over 3.5 million children are impacted by a severe acute malnutrition rate of 12 percent.” The report suggests that access to food is likely to worsen in the country between November 2023 and January 2024, with an estimated 11.8 million people expected to face acute food shortage.
The report also suggests that political instability following the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a vote of no confidence in April 2022 has contributed to the current crisis of high inflation and food insecurity.