The National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) said on Friday that there was no shortage of food items in the country, adding that wheat stocks were also sufficient amid fears the cataclysmic rains had devastated agricultural crops.
In the latest update, the forum said: “A huge stock of wheat for [the] next six months is available along with the strategic reserve which is sufficient till next harvesting season.”
Other than two million tons of strategic reserves, an import of additional stock of 1.8m tons is in progress out of which 0.6m tons has reached. The NFRCC said 46,000 tons of wheat from the public sector was being released on a daily basis.
The centre also gave a breakdown of certain crops and food stock.
It said that bumper tomato crops were harvested last year, which were more than sufficient to fulfil the country’s requirements. The NFRCC said a total of 7.5m tons of potatoes were harvested when the total requirement was 4.2m tons.
The forum said the import of onions and potatoes was in progress from Iran and Afghanistan. “In that regard, the government has directed to wave of all duties […] however the release/distribution of items is ensured [the] same day at earliest.”
The country’s rice requirement, the NFRCC said, could be fulfilled easily through available stock till December, adding that the next harvesting season would start in October.
In a nutshell, the country has a sufficient stock of food and sustenance items and measures have been taken to further enhance the capacity, the NFRCC said.
However, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the country may have to import wheat if the crop was not sowed in time.
Later today, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to make his debut on the global stage with his address to a gathering of world leaders at the UN headquarters in New York.
He is expected to highlight the massive devastation triggered by deadly climate-induced floods, and will appeal for international support to deal with the catastrophe.
Disease spread in Sindh
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) latest report, a total of 1,596 people have died across Pakistan due to the floods since June 14. Further, 12,863 people have been injured.
The latest report by the Sindh Directorate General Health Services showed that 79,556 patients had reported to medical camps during the last 24 hours. Of these, 14,653 had diarrhoeal disease, 14,364 had skin-related diseases, 796 had malaria and 53 had dengue.
Since July 1, a total of 2.9 million patients have been treated at medical camps in the province.