Pakistan faces many challenges which include poverty, food insecurity and continuous natural and manmade disasters. As per the latest poverty estimates, 24% of Pakistan’s population lives below the national poverty line; which includes 31% in rural areas and 13% in urban areas1 . Further, 38.8% of the national population is poor based on the multidimensional poverty index (MPI)2 ; 54.6% in rural areas and 9.4% in urban areas. In terms of food security, the situation presents a bleak picture. The global report titled “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” (a joint publication of FAO, IFAD, WFP, UNICEF, and WHO) reports 20.5% of the total population of Pakistan was undernourished during the 2015-2017 period.
The province of Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan in terms of area. The province is blessed with natural resources and contains approximately two thirds of the country’s coast line which allow for ample livelihood opportunities in terms of trade and fisheries. However, Balochistan has the second highest incidence of multidimensional poverty in Pakistan (after FATA region). Overall, 71% of the population in Balochistan is multi-dimensionally poor; rural population is 85% and urban population is 38% multi-dimensionally poor.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics Labor Force Statistics for 2017-2018, 45% of Balochistan’s population is illiterate (30% males and 63% females). The illiteracy rate is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas (50% of the population is illiterate in rural and 32% in urban areas).
The province of Balochistan is prone to multiple hazards including earthquakes, floods, and drought.
Archives from PDMA Balochistan reveal that serious earthquakes occurred in Ziarat in 2008, in Washuk in 2013, and in Awaran in 2013. Similarly there were serious floods in the province in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
However since 2016, drought/drought-like conditions have been prevailing in several districts of Balochistan which have impacted livelihood and food security in those districts. Particularly, drought has been a recurring phenomenon in the western and central districts of the province.
The drought-like conditions have recently affected the western, central, northern, and eastern districts of Balochistan. The drought conditions in Pakistan, reflected by the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), for selected months in 2018 are shown in Figure 1. Many districts in the province of Balochistan are under ‘moderate to severe’ drought conditions due to no or very low precipitation and persistent dry conditions which have worsened since July of 2018. Furthermore, departure from normal rainfall for selected months in 2018 (as shown Figure 2) is also very high in several parts of Balochistan3 . The situation has worsened from July 2018 to December 2018 leading to drought like conditions across a large proportion of the province4 .