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WFP Pakistan Country Brief, March 2020

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In Numbers

1,788.61 mt of food distributed

US$ 28.03 million six months (Apr- Sep 2020) net funding requirements representing 56 percent of total.

307,856 people assisted in February 2020

Operational Updates

• In Pakistan, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 4,072 within 28 days and there is concern that this number may increase to 50,000 by 25 April.
The country does not have the resources or the infrastructure to deal with the devastating social and economic impact. Accordingly, the Government has reached out to the UN and international community for support. To support the Government, WFP is:

o Providing mobile storage units for screening purposes and to store medical goods.
Prefabricated latrines and hub-in-boxes (to setup mobile offices) have also been supplied;

o Leading the food security component of the socioeconomic impact analysis of COVID-19 in Pakistan, to identify food insecurity and vulnerability hotspots where hunger will be exacerbated by COVID-19.

o Preparing a response plan with key UN partners for the treatment and prevention of moderate acute malnutrition. with an initial 50 percent coverage across the country.

o Developing an integrated response plan to address the effects of school closure.

o Preparing a shock-response programme to support vulnerable households that are not currently being targeted by existing social safety programmes in the country.

• WFP has continued sharing COVID-19 specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for food distribution with all cooperating partners. WFP is monitoring compliance and adherence to the SOPs to minimize risks of infection.

• WFP also conducted trainings on social and behavior change communication to prevent the spread of the virus (i.e. social distancing and handwashing) for all staff and partners). WFP is playing a key role to disseminate UN risk communication and advocacy messages.

• Many of WFP’s existing operations in Pakistan have been affected by the lockdown imposed across the nation in response to the COVID-19 crisis. WFP’s stunting prevention initiatives, snow emergency general food distribution, food assistance for assets activities and school safety programmes have either been halted or disrupted due to this crisis. WFP’s shock-responsive social safety net intervention in Balochistan and general food distribution for temporarily displaced people programmes are the only two activities continuing normally. WFP is coordinating with the relevant Government authorities to resume operations after the implementation of context-specific safeguards and protocols.

• Following heavy snowfall and avalanches in Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in January, numerous homes were damaged, and markets were destroyed. Food stock destruction and the lack of road access left many families stranded.
WFP was the first UN agency to respond to this emergency through the provision of relief food assistance to the most affected families in these regions. In March, WFP successfully completed distribution and provided food assistance to 30,000 households in Balochistan. In AJK, WFP has concluded the first round of food assistance, for 10,438 families. The second round is underway, with plans to reach a total targeted 31,000 households in AJK.

• To assist the most vulnerable population affected by the 2019 drought in Sindh, WFP successfully carried out a shock-responsive social safety net project in Tharparkar district, Sindh. This included support to 44,424 households registered under the national social safety net programme, ‘Benazir Income Support Programme’ (BISP). Registered BISP beneficiaries, entitled to regular unconditional cash assistance, received WFP cash top-ups for three months. After the successful implementation, an addendum for an expansion of the project to the Balochistan province was signed with BISP stakeholders.

• WFP highlighted the organization’s work on nutrition at the Second Annual Public Health Conference 2020, held at the Khyber Medical University,
Peshawar. At this conference, WFP shared results from the “Multisectoral Stunting Prevention Study” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the “Nutrition-Sensitive Stunting Prevention Study” in Rahim Yar Khan,

• WFP contributed to WFP’s Social Protection Flagship Publication, “Social Protection & the World Food Programme: Bridging Research, Policy and Action” which highlights the role of the Fill the Nutrient Gap (FNG) analysis on informing social protection programming in Pakistan. The FNG has helped the Government to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of fortified wheat flour, micronutrient powders, locally produced specialized nutritious food and fresh food vouchers on meeting the dietary requirements for children and families.