Hunger is desperation. Hunger is helplessness. Hunger is a disease. Hunger is seeing your children cry for food but being unable to feed them.
Imagine waking up every morning not knowing whether you will get anything at all to eat, seeing your children cry out of hunger, rain pouring over your roof reminding you of the floods that took away most of your belongings last two years, and being able to afford only one piece of bread for most of your family at home. Such is the dilemma faced by around 21.4 million people everyday in Pakistan, that live in hunger.
There has been a consistent rise in food prices in Pakistan over the years, and whereas it was 3.6% in the year 2001, the yearly percentage increase rose to 18% in 2011, according to the Asian Development Bank. Further, food items contributed to 6.74 of the total 10.46 rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between August 2010 and September 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan.
Food inflation means the poor that constitute 32.6 of the population, according to World Bank figures, are left more vulnerable, and also highlights the obvious link between hunger and poverty. This has also led to severe malnutrition, especially among children, that has further increased due to disasters such as the worst floods in memory that hit Pakistan in 2010, and again in 2011.
According to the World Food Programme Pakistan, “The malnutrition figures from the year 2001 have shown no improvement: 13 percent of children aged 6-59 months suffer from acute malnutrition, with levels of stunting and underweight at 37 and 38 percent respectively. A third of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies are widespread. An estimated 45 percent of women and 67 percent of children under five are anaemic.”
Realising the urgent need for intervention in such an alarming situation, the World Food Programme, which has been working in Pakistan since 1968, has pledged to feed 7.4 million hungry people in Pakistan this year, and this campaign requires the help of each and every one of us to become a success.
There are two ways you can become involved in the Fighting Hunger in Pakistan campaign.
Firstly, you can go along with a group that WFP is taking to meet these people who need your help, to distribute food amongst them, and volunteer for a day in a WFP-assisted area. If you wish to be part of this and future initiatives like this, you can fill out the WFP Volunteer form.
Secondly, it only takes Rs. 7350 (USD 77.55) per family per month that you can contribute by clicking here to provide them with fortified food rations. The general family food basket consists of the preferred staple commodities of wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, and tea. Wawa mum, which in Pushto means ‘nice food’ is Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food (RUSF), is supplied to children between the ages of 6 and 23 months, and those aged 2-12 years receive High Energy Biscuits (HEB), to preclude the incidence of nutritional declines. What is excellent about the WFP’s work in Pakistan is that they make customized food for children locally from products that are locally consumed, such as locally-grown chick-peas. (Source: WFP)
I personally witnessed the despair hunger, especially in post-disaster times, causes when I was leading the Future leaders of Pakistan (FLP) flood relief campaign, and the response from the people one helps is always heart-warming, and provides one with the required inspiration to continue to help those that are affected badly by unnatural rises in food prises, and the impact of disasters. Your contributions can make all the required difference and help defeat hunger.