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15 October 2010
Red Cross Red Crescent has reached over 1m with food but funding gap and loss of crops could hit millions.
Millions of people who lost homes, crops and food stores to the Pakistan floods are facing a winter of hunger unless more money is found.
The Red Cross movement has already distributed emergency food parcels for more than 1.3m people, but with this year’s crops destroyed and fields in no condition for planting, a second round of aid to provide food for the winter is vital.
Funding for these distributions, however, is short.
“The emergency is far from over,” said David Peppiatt, international director of the British Red Cross.
“Malnutrition rates have risen to 14 per cent and an estimated 30-50% of children arriving at health facilities have shown symptoms of acute malnutrition.
“Because of the destruction, people simply have no way to feed themselves – it will be almost a year before many farmers can bring in another harvest. That means people are going to go hungry unless we get help to them, and at the moment we simply don’t have the money to do that.”
The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) is reporting its US$72.5m appeal – designed to support 900,000 people for 18 months - is just 64 per cent covered.
And the funding shortfall has hit just as aid distributions are surging ahead.
In the first week of October alone, a British Red Cross (BRC) logistics team based in Sindh province saw food for 90,000 people pass through its warehouse, along its supply chain and into the hands of families left hungry by the floods.
Sarah Oughton is working with the BRC logistics team in Sindh.
“I met Muhammad, a man in his sixties who was collecting food for his family. They had lost everything,” she said.
“This is vital aid but he has a large family and that food won’t last forever. Once it runs out they’ll be back at square one, unless we can find the funds to give a second round of food.”
This weekend, the Red Cross Movement is holding a meeting to develop plans for helping two million people over the next two years.
“We are getting aid to huge numbers of people, and it is critical that this continues,” added David Peppiatt.
“For hundreds-of-thousands of men, women and children in Pakistan, it is vital that we get the resources to make these plans a reality.”