People wade through the flood waters in the district Jaffarabad and Nasirabad, Balochistan. Photo: OCHA

25 September 2012 ? The United Nations today announced it has begun food distributions to tens of thousands of people affected by monsoon floods in the Sindh province of Pakistan, adding that it plans to expand assistance to the Balochistan province later this week.

Some 10,000 families in the Jacobadad district are receiving a one-month food ration consisting of dietary staples such as fortified wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and iodized salt, as well as high energy biscuits and specialized ready-to-use supplementary food for small children.

With road access limited due to the flood waters and some areas currently under 2.5 metres of water, WFP has deployed 16 motorboats to reach some of the worst-affected communities.

The agency said it plans to reach a further 10,000 families in the Balochistan province later this week. However, it warned that any assistance beyond this first phase will require additional funding from donors, adding that it is currently seeking urgent donations of $15 million.

?We could scale up our response to reach up to 250,000 families ? that?s 1.7 million people,? said WFP Pakistan Country Director Jean-Luc Siblot. ?But that would mean using food stocks earmarked for relief to the displaced population in the north-west of the country and these would have to be replenished by December ? that means funding is needed now.?

Pakistan?s National Disaster Management Authority has estimated that up to 4.5 million people have been affected by the flooding in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab provinces, following heavy rains earlier this month. However, not all of these may require food assistance. An initial rapid assessment has been carried out in the affected areas, and the results are expected to give a clearer indication of the needs of those affected.

The disaster has already caused the deaths of up to 400 people, destroyed houses and hundreds of thousands of acres of crops.

Many of the districts affected, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, were already struggling to recover from the floods of 2010 and 2011, with communities particularly vulnerable to the effects of this latest shock.

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