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reliefweb - 11 days ago

Pakistan: Drought Assessment Report Chaghai, Noshki, Kharan, Washuk and Quetta

Source: Islamic Relief Country: Pakistan
1. Executive Summary: This assessment study on impacts of drought was undertaken by Islamic Relief Pakistan. The primary focus of it has been the four districts Chaghai, Kharan, Noshki, Washuk which together constitute the Rakhsan division. The study found that one of the major challenges faced by the population in Balochistan is drought. Lack of rainfall has led to recurring droughts of different spans and intensity since 2000 hitting hard the local population. The situation since 2013 has become all the more alarming due to 74% decrease in rainfall impacting hard on water management, agriculture, livestock, health, food security and livelihoods. As there is no letup in the rainfall, several district are currently in the grip of famine like situation. On September 06, 2018, Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD) issued a drought alert warning the situation in areas like Dalbandin, Gawadar, Jiwani, Panjgur, Pasni, Nokundi, Urnmara, Quetta and Turbat to become worse by the end of year 2018. According to PMD, districts Chagai, Noshki, Kharan and Washuk are badly affected with severe impacts on their agriculture and livestock sectors forcing the local population to migrate to different areas. Around 33% of local population have migrated to other different places. Due to large geographic area, low population density and paucity of resources, the coverage of some of the key departments like food, agriculture and livestock, is quite partial. For instance livestock department could only reach out to 15% of animals for veterinary services. According to PMD drought evolves in 7 years cycle, but the current spell that started in 2007 has surpassed this cycle. They also noted that as compared to the previous year there has been negative pattern in the precipitation level during 2018.
The drought alert of PMD showed that as compared to the previous year negative pattern of precipitation has prevailed during 2018 leading to decrease in the precipitation between -100 mm and -20 mm during the period of January – August). Decreasing livestock population has led to increase in the prices of dairy products. Migration has different dimensions in the affected regions. Herders with larger flocks (500+ animals) migrated to Qalat, Khuzdar and even crossed border to Afghanistan and Iran, while the owner of small herds (20-30 animals) largely destocked their animals and are moving to urban centers. Nutrition emergency has been declared in Balochistan but drought emergency is not being declared in the province so far, though the deputy commissioners (as relief commissioners) for few district asked for relief assistance on their own. PDMA notified all DCs to inform back on the current drought situation in their respective districts after due consultation with the line departments.
The study also revealed alarming situation of groundwater depletion in Chagai, Noshki, Kharan and Washuk due to mass installation of tube wells, Wind Mills, inefficient irrigation systems, inappropriate cropping patterns and lack of raining. The socioeconomic impacts of drought are vivid on incomes, nutrition and livelihood of the population where this study conducted. Its results show 65% increase in food prices in the affected areas forcing the affected communities to reduce the food intake leading to malnutrition among children and women.
There is about 76% reduction in fodder output impacting the livestock which plays an important role in the rural economy. Depletion of fodder sources has led to the death of 85% of livestock. Depletion of irrigation sources have led to the destruction of 63% of apple and 48% of apricot, peach and plum orchards. Regarding accessibility, 60% non-availability of cereal crop and fruits in the market is also major cause of concern. The socioeconomic impact of drought is evident in the form of livelihood loss, unemployment and forced migration. The study shows that due to negative impact of climate change, the prevalence of different ophthalmological diseases such as cataract have risen especially among children and elder people in Kharan, Washuk and Chagai. Due to production losses in agriculture and livestock, the incomes of farmers have reduced. This has compelled the vulnerable farmers to sell their valuable assets to meet the resource deficit. The recent drought has further worsened the already severe nutritional deficiency in Balochistan. Meat consumption has declined due to reduced purchasing power. Many people reported that they could barely afford meat once a week. The intake of fruits and nutritious food was minimal.

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