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EU supports livelihoods, nutrition in drought-stricken Sindh

The European Union has contributed critical funds to enable livelihoods and nutrition programmes, run by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), to continue in the hardest-hit drought areas of Sindh province in Pakistan.

The contribution of nearly US$4.5 million from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) is being used to assist the recovery and stabilization of people affected by food insecurity and drought.

The funds will also help provide nutrition support, thus preventing further deterioration, as well as develop households’ capacity to strengthen their economic recovery, a statement said on Thursday.

“The most vulnerable households, in terms of malnutrition and livestock/yields losses, are being prioritized,” said WFP Country Director Finbarr Curran. “We know that in some areas 37 percent of deaths recorded were children; 100 percent of households experienced moderate drought; 83.8 percent faced extreme water scarcity; and 27.7 percent do not have access to safe water sources.”

Life-saving nutrition-specific activities in Sindh focus on Community Management for Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Infant Young Child Feeding (IYCF) using specialized nutritious products. Treatment is provided to around 19,000 moderate acute malnourished children of 6-59 months and 18,000 acutely malnourished pregnant and nursing women. Activities also include improving the behaviour and practices of those caring for young children.

WFP Pakistan is working in partnership with the Government of Sindh health department in food insecure districts, implementing CMAM in cooperation with partner NGOs and UNICEF. The activities aim to improve the overall nutritional status, health and well-being of the population, particularly for children under five, who are at a crucial stage of their development, in addition to malnourished pregnant and nursing women, when their condition can adversely affect births as well as the physical and cognitive growth and development of their children, if not addressed in time.

Through livelihoods cash-assistance activities, WFP is helping disaster-affected communities to develop resilience and cope better with disasters and shocks. With greater awareness about best practices for food handling and preparation, and focusing on the use of local nutritious foods to gain dietary diversity, people react better to changing circumstances, using affordable and available resources.

WFP’s main aim is to improve the food security of drought-affected vulnerable communities by providing cash support. These interventions have a dual advantage of simultaneously developing skills and meeting the immediate cash needs at a time when most families have suffered the loss of their livelihoods through drought.

WFP closely collaborates and coordinates livelihood activities with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), respective District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) and the Food Security Working Groups. Nutrition activities are coordinated closely with the Provincial Department of Health and UN Agencies including UNICEF and WHO, through the provincial nutrition cluster in Sindh.

Source: The Nation

Byline: NNI

Dec 29, 2016

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