British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner CMG announced £3.5 million UK humanitarian aid for Balochistan during his first visit to Quetta today.
Rates of malnutrition and food insecurity in Balochistan were already high before the COVID-19 global pandemic, but the virus has affected livelihoods and made the problem worse.
UK aid will help over 41,000 women and children get vital nutrients they need, through a therapeutic food programme. It will support community outreach workers to identify and help malnourished children, pregnant women and new mothers.
British High Commissioner Christian Turner CMG said:
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global economy hard, and this has had a knock-on effect on food security in Balochistan. UK aid announced today will provide life-saving nutrition and humanitarian aid to vulnerable women and children when they need it most – giving the next generation the best start in life.
UK investment will be split between the World Food Programme (WFP) and International Rescue Committee (IRC). Part of the package will also help with humanitarian cash transfers to help with food and essential living costs. In total, UK aid will help over 164,000 people in Balochistan.
During his visit, the British High Commissioner met the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, and discussed a variety of matters including the Balochistan economy. He also met Chris Kaye, country director for WFP. Finally, Dr Turner also gave his condolences on the terrorist attack on January 2nd, in which 11 miners were killed.
Notes to editors:
As part of the UK’s wide-ranging package to help Pakistan tackle COVID-19 and help people suffering from the wider economic effects, we are working with both the World Food Programme (WFP) and International Rescue Committee (IRC);
The nutrition programme will help over 41,000 people (over 9,700 boys, over 10,500 girls and over 21,500 pregnant and lactating women in Balochistan).
In Balochistan, with humanitarian cash transfers, the UK is targeting Jhal Magsi and Chaghi districts, and will reach over 18,000 households (or over 122,000 people).
Studies have shown that without enough of the right nutrients, children can suffer from stunting or wasting, when their bodies and brains don’t develop the way they should. This can have an impact on entire populations, contributing to a cycle of poverty;
WFP will support Government Lady Health Workers (LHWs) at the community level and community outreach workers to screen and identify malnourished children and malnourished pregnant and lactating women. IRC will work with communities to identify highly vulnerable households providing them with a cash transfer to help cater to their food and livelihood needs.