Monday, 29 September 2014

Challenges of a different kind - the role of food prices in the lives of the poorest in Pakistan

by Mysbah Balagamwala and Haris Gazdar

The mother of one of our respondents in Karachi cooks roti (flat bread). Roti made from wheat flour is the staple food in our research sites
Photo Credit: Naila Mahmood/Collective for Social Science Research 
Countries like Pakistan always appear at the global stage to be battling big challenges such as political crises, conflicts and disasters.  But the picture remains incomplete without seeing challenges of a different kind that ordinary people, particularly the poorest, face on a daily basis.  Research conducted in Pakistan, alongside nine other developing countries, for the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility project provides just such a perspective.  Qualitative research was carried out by the Collective for Social Science Research in 2012 and 2013 in a cluster of villages in Dadu district and in an urban working-class neighbourhood in Karachi to explore how rising food prices were affecting the poor.  Three important themes emerged from our research in Pakistan which helps understand ways in which food inflation impacts the poor and the vulnerable.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Flood 2014 – Some Lessons from 2010

by Haris Gazdar
Flooding in Punjab Province, Pakistan from 2010. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

On 6th September the Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) of the Pakistan Meteorological  Department reported ‘Exceptionally High Flood” in Chenab at Khanki and Jhelum at Rasul.  Both rivers had already inundated large swathes of the floodplains and hundreds of villages by 8th September when the FFD issued warnings of a second peak over the coming 24 to 48 hours at Trimmu where these two flows meet.  Panjnad braces itself as I write and the Alipur and Jatoi tehsils of Muzaffargarh district which bore the brunt of the 2010 Indus flood in Punjab are under threat.  The command areas of Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages – virtually all of the lower Indus floodplains in Sindh wait. It is already a big flood and is likely to get only bigger.