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@hunger Country Profile - Pakistan December 11, 2011 Pakistan: Pakistan is considered by many in the west to be if not a failed

state, then very close to one. Pakistan, and more specifically the Pakistani military has recently been accused by the United States of providing material support to Terrorists including Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Haqqani network. Pakistan was also where Osama bin Laden was located and killed by US Special forces. When it comes to hunger, however, we must look past political squabbling and differences of opinion and work together for the greater benefit of the people. Pakistan is home to 187,342,721 people (2011 estimate). The populace is dominantly Punjabi and Sunni muslim. The current life expectancy is 66 years, with a median age of 21.6 years. The country currently has a death rate of 6.92 deaths/1,000 population. Pakistan has the 51st highest maternal death rate and the 26th highest infant mortality rate in the world. 90% of the Pakistani population has access to improved drinking water sources while 45% have access to improved sanitation facilities (72% in urban areas versus 29% in rural areas). 49.9% of the population is literate (63% male, 36% female), with an average of 7 years spent in school. Pakistan has the 17th highest prevalence of underweight children below the age of 5 about 1 in 3 (31.3%). Pakistans GDP per capita is equivalent to $2,500.00 US per person (ranked 180 in the world) and has a Gini index of 30.6 with 1 in 4 people living in poverty (24%). Pakistan is lightly industrialized with about 20% of its economy being in industry with the remaining 80% being roughly evenly split between agriculture and services (43%-37%). The current Pakistani unemployment rate is 15.4%. Pakistans current inflation rate is estimated at 16%. Pakistans agricultural products include cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, milk, beef, mutton, and eggs. Pakistans light but broad based industry produces textiles and apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, paper products, fertilizer, and shrimp.

Pakistan is bounded to the west by Afghanistan and Iran, to the north by China, to the east by India, and to the south by the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is a mountainous to high plateau region and is characterized by a mostly hot, dry desert climate, however in the north the climate is described as temperate to arctic. Pakistans lowest point is the Indian Ocean (0 m), and its highest point is K2 (8,611 m). Pakistans natural resources include natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, and limestone. 24.4% of Pakistan is considered arable land, however, only 0.84% of Pakistan is used for permanent crops. Being located along the boundary of subducting India and the overriding Eurasian Plate, Pakistan is subject to frequent (occasiaonally severe) earthquakes. Climatological hazards include flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (due to monsoons in July and August). The British came to dominate the region in the 18th century. The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars, in 1947-48 and 1965, over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to India gaining nuclear weapons, Pakistan pursued and obtained nuclear weapons in 1998. Regional relations with India have been on shaky footing since a cross-border terrorist attack on a hotel in Mumbai in 2008. Pakistan is currently blocking NATO convoys to neighbouring Afghanistan whom is in talks regarding India for military alliances over a U.S. air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November of 2011. Relations with the West were already on rocky terms after an unauthorized incursion by the United States into Abbottabad, Pakistan in order to capture and assassinate Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

In late 2010, Pakistan experienced a crisis of national and unprecedented proportions. Due to heavier than normal monsoons, rivers swelled to more than ten or twenty times their typical size and almost one-fifth of the countrys total landmass was submerged. Millions of people were left without access to food, clean drinking water or health services, and the agricultural sector suffered severe damage. The government estimated that some 20 million people across the country were affected by the crisis, of which more than 10 million were found to be in need of immediate assistance. Prior to this, in 2009 the United Nations World Food Programme estimated that roughly 50 percent of the population of Pakistan (around 83 million people) were food insecure. Further, the WFP estimates that a third of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition and an estimated 45 percent of women and 67 percent of children under five are anemic. UNICEF estimates that they are providing clean water to almost 210,000 people daily, while supplies such as buckets, soap, water purification tablets and tarpaulins are being distributed to more than 100,000 people. However, with recent economic downturns in most of the G20 nations, UNICEF is facing a funding shortfall and in October of this year, appealed for $50.3 million dollars to continue their operations where the cost of trucking water alone exceeds $600,000 per month. Pakistan shares some of the tribal struggles of its neighbor, Afghanistan, but is in better shape economically overall. Pakistan presents similar challenges to aid agencies as encountered in Afghanistan and Somalia. Rugged poorly improved mountainous rural areas, terrorism, and overall poor relations with the West. While Pakistan is not a poor nation, comparatively, there needs to be the establishment of a stable government and militants within their borders need to be controlled. Fresh water supplies and development of agriculture are not problems either in the country. The solution to Pakistans hunger issues is a political and engineering one. Annual flash flooding needs to be controlled by a series of flood control dams,
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spillways, and flood control channels. Building these will require an investment of a significant amount of capital, however the returns through creating employment building roads, bridges, and other significant infrastructure as part of these projects will go a long way to help the 24% of the populace living in poverty. Regional partners will prove invaluable in offering material and professional support to Pakistan to help the Pakistani people establish a solid infrastructure to protect the agricultural sector and allow Pakistanis not only to grow the food they need, but also be able to afford to buy it.

Christopher Cecile @hunger

Sources: BBC News Asia -http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16131824 CIA World Factbook - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html United Nations World Food Programme - http://www.wfp.org/countries/Pakistan/Overview UNICEF - http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/pakistan.html