Livestock loss.

JANIB Gul Mohammad can feel a pall of gloom as he enters his home. And when his wife Kasbano serves him a meat dish, otherwise a rarity, he knows why. Another animal has perished. For his wife, it is a day of mourning; to him, another huge economic loss.

As if the floods had not caused enough devastation - destroyed their home and the rice crop - it is sapping life out of their livestock too. A few days ago, it was the fourth time in the last one month that he ate meat.

He and his wife rescued all their six animals when they fled the floodwaters that submerged their home and took refuge on the embankment of a canal for two weeks before returning.

However, soon after being displaced, one pregnant cow, a calf and two goats died, Gul Mohammad said over the phone from his village in Fateh Ali Buledi, in Sindh's Kamber Shahdadkot district. The cow and goat that are still alive will soon succumb, he said, estimating a total loss of Rs250,000.

The FAO has warned that about 6m people can face acute food insecurity in 28 vulnerable districts of Balochistan, Sindh and KP.

'Our animals are dying from hunger and sickness,' he said. Insufficient fodder and the stress of displacement is making them weak. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 85 per cent of farmers have observed signs of animal disease outbreak in their communities.

Read more: Pakistan suffered climate-induced losses worth $29bn

Dr Nazeer Hussain Kalhoro, director general of the Sindh Institute of Animal Health at the provincial government's livestock department, said the situation was alarming. In Balochistan, an estimated 500,000 animals perished; followed by 436,435 in Sindh; 205,106 in Punjab and 21,328 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. An estimated 1,164,270 animals have perished, while many more are on the verge of death.

Some animals drowned while others died of starvation as grazing land was covered with water. Consumption of contaminated water and eating wet fodder led to parasitic diseases making them weak.

With the veterinary infrastructure compromised the animals could not get vaccinated.

Livestock, the largest sub-sector in agriculture, contributed 60.1pc to agriculture value addition and 11.5pc to GDP during the 2020-21 financial year, according to the Pakistan Economic Survey. More than eight million rural families are engaged in livestock production and deriving more than 35pc-40...

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