As heavy rains continue to be forecast in Pakistan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is warning against the resulting economic loss that will likely lead to food insecurity and an increase in violence against women. It is vital that the humanitarian response is fully funded to mitigate the severity of the consequences.

Pakistan is now predicted to experience an economic loss of $12.5 billion as a result of the destruction caused by flooding, with inflation projected to reach a record high of 30% by the end of this fiscal year. 

Communities are set to lose everything to the worst flooding in decades: with over a third of Pakistan underwater in recent weeks, over 3.6 million acres of crops destroyed and over 750,000 livestock killed. Economists are predicting, however, that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the full extent of the damage and loss suffered is likely to be much higher. 

Shabnam Baloch, IRC Pakistan Director, said,

“The devastating loss that Pakistan is set to experience cannot be underestimated. Agriculture and farming are the sole sources of income for communities across the country, and millions of families are at risk of becoming solely reliant on humanitarian support as the country’s GDP shrinks. 

“There is an acute sense of despair in all corners of the country. In the immediate term, families are likely to go hungry as employment dries up and they cannot afford food. Meanwhile, we know that during times of crisis, women and girls are at an increased risk of violence, exploitation and abuse, as pressures mount for households to access an income and source food and essential household supplies. IRC and its partner’s teams on the ground in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces are disturbed by an increase in? reports of sexual harassment and assault. 

“The acute loss of farmland and agriculture is likely to be felt in the months and years ahead. It is vital that the humanitarian response remains fully funded in order to give the people of Pakistan the best chance of rebuilding their lives.”

According to IRC and partner’s latest needs assessments, people are in urgent need of food, drinking water, shelter, healthcare, and essential items such as hygiene products: every person surveyed reported women and girls have no access to menstrual hygiene products. As the country’s economy is called into question, with people’s jobs and income impacted, it is up to humanitarian organizations like the IRC to ensure delivery of essential supplies. So far, the IRC has reached almost 29,000 women and girls with humanitarian assistance in, including food and dignity and hygiene kits to address the need for sanitation and menstrual items.

The IRC and our partner organizations are on the ground in Pakistan, closely monitoring the situation and assessing humanitarian need. Our teams have been providing lifesaving services in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces since early July to flood-affected communities, and have so far reached  more than 45,000 people with emergency non-food items, dignity and hygiene kits, food baskets, and the establishment of medical camps and safe spaces.