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ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of Euro 3.5 million from the Government of France in support of the ongoing flood response for women and children affected by life-threatening malnutrition in Pakistan.

The funding will help WFP reach thousands of children under-five and pregnant and breast-feeding women and girls suffering from acute malnutrition with lifesaving support in Sindh and Balochistan.

Although floodwaters have receded in most parts of Pakistan following last year’s unprecedented floods, the country now faces a new deadly threat.

Against the backdrop of high inflation, especially soaring food prices, millions of people are struggling to afford and access nutritious food and cases of life-threatening severe acute malnutrition are emerging among women and children in several districts worst affected by floods.

“The French government’s support to WFP reflects another step in France’s solidarity towards the people of Pakistan and particularly the vulnerable communities in Sindh and Balochistan that were most impacted by the 2022 floods”, said Nicolas Galey, Ambassador of France to Pakistan, in a meeting with WFP on Friday.

“This timely contribution will support ongoing efforts to improve food security and to bolster community resilience, with a focus on the nutrition of women and girls, and children under five”, he added.

According to a rapid survey of 15 flood-affected districts in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, nearly one-third of children between 6-23 months of age are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, while 14 percent are affected by severe acute malnutrition.

“The WFP is deeply concerned about the looming nutrition crisis in Pakistan. The increase in cases of severe acute malnutrition among women and children is particularly heartbreaking.

The WFP remains committed to addressing the situation with utmost urgency. The funding provided by the Government of France will help us reach some of the most vulnerable communities and provide them with life-saving assistance, for that we are extremely grateful,” said Chris Kaye, Country Director of WFP.

The Euro 3.5 million is the latest in a series of significant contributions that underscore the Government of France’s commitment to contribute to eradicating malnutrition alongside partners and supporting Pakistan’s flood recovery.

France also previously contributed Euro 1 million in 2022 to the Integrated Nutrition-Safety Net Project for flood-affected pregnant and breastfeeding women in Sindh, and Euro 2 million in support of WFP’s flood response activities last year.

The total contribution of Euro 6.5 million will help WFP to provide a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis whose lives and livelihoods have been upended by last year’s devastating floods.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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