Sunday September 04, 2022

37% of Pakistan`s population hit by poverty after deadly floods

37% of Pakistan`s population hit by poverty after deadly floods

Flood victims reach out for food aid, while taking refuge on higher ground, in Jhangara village in Sehwan, Pakistan. Reuters

The catastrophic floods in Pakistan have caused economic damages from $10 billion to $12.5 billion apart from the loss of lives as estimated by the government, projecting a rise in inflation in the range of 24-27 per cent to touch 30 per cent for the current fiscal year, local media reported.

According to initial government estimates, the devastation has caused $10 billion in damage, but Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said "the scale of devastation is massive and requires an immense humanitarian response for 33 million people.”

A high-profile committee with representation from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, State Bank of Pakistan, FBR, PIDE and others evaluated that poverty and unemployment have gone up manifold, rising from 21.9 per cent to over 36 per cent.

Some 37 per cent of the population has been hit by poverty after 118 districts of the country were ravaged by severe flooding, Geo News reported.

37% of Pakistan`s population hit by poverty after deadly floodsFlood affected women fill drinking water from a handpump in Jaffarabad district of Balochistan. AFP

Unemployment has gone up significantly but the government has decided to share any number after holding consultations with relevant stakeholders. The unemployment rate stood at six per cent before the recent severe floods.

Official sources said that the GDP growth would be reduced from five per cent to two per cent for the current fiscal. The State Bank of Pakistan revealed that growth would be reduced from four per cent to 4.5 per cent to 2 per cent for the current fiscal, The News reported.

Agriculture growth faced a much severe impact in the aftermath of floods and the value addition of agro growth in the range of over Rs500 billion might evaporate in the current fiscal year. The agriculture growth target and services sector faced severe impacts.

The country's GDP growth has been projected to evaporate by three per cent and it will be hovering around 2 per cent of GDP against the initially envisaged growth rate target of 5 per cent on the eve of the budget for 2022-23.

37% of Pakistan`s population hit by poverty after deadly floodsA flood-affected woman sits with her child under the shade of a charpai at a makeshift camp in Dera Allah Yar town. AFP

The acute losses on the economic front may aggravate as the SBP's model is estimated to ascertain losses on the basis of disrupted economic activities hit in all districts and tehsils in the flood-affected areas. The SBP has been using satellite images of SUPARCO to assess the exact losses faced by the agriculture sector. Google has also offered the government to get its services to ascertain the total accumulated losses to agriculture and physical infrastructure.

The last flood that had hit the country in 2010 had caused damages in 78 districts but the ferocity of recent floods could be gauged from the fact that it had caused damages in 118 districts of those areas, which are major hubs of economic activities.





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