UN Report Warns of Rising Acute Food Insecurity in Pakistan Due to Economic and Political Turmoil


A new report released by the United Nations has raised concerns about the potential increase in acute food insecurity in Pakistan in the coming months. The report, titled ‘Hunger Hotspots: FAO-WFP Early Warnings on Severe Food Insecurity,’ jointly produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), highlights the impact of the country’s economic and political turmoil on its food security situation. The report covers the period from June to November 2023. The report emphasizes that Pakistan’s protracted financial crisis, compounded by rising state debt, has worsened the situation. The country is facing the daunting task of repaying USD 77.5 billion in external debt between April 2023 and June 2026. The report further notes that political instability and lagging reforms have hindered the release of crucial financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and bilateral partners.

The upcoming national elections in October 2023 are expected to escalate the political crisis and civil unrest, particularly in the country’s northwest. A lack of foreign reserves and a declining currency have also reduced Pakistan’s capacity to import essential food and energy supplies, leading to higher food costs and nationwide energy cuts. The consequences of the 2022 floods, which caused significant damage to the agriculture sector, have further worsened the food security situation in the country. Over 8.5 million people are projected to experience severe food insecurity between September and December 2022.

The report calls for strengthening disaster management agencies’ capacity and recommends improving social protection mechanisms to promote preventive action and effective humanitarian response. It also highlights that Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen remain critical countries with regards to acute food insecurity. As the situation continues to deteriorate, immediate attention and assistance are required for countries like Pakistan, where populations are at risk of hunger and catastrophic conditions due to severe food shortages and aggravating factors.


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