ISLAMABAD: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has completed 22 food security projects worth $16.83 million in Pakistan since 2005, a senior official at the international aid agency said as it completes 14 years of operations in the South Asian nation.
KSRelief has one of the largest humanitarian aid budgets in the world and operates in 44 countries where it has spent upwards of $3.25 billion on 1,011 projects. The agency has worked as a partner with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on several projects, including providing basic relief materials for internally displaced people in Yemen and emergency support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
“We are working here since 2005 when a massive earthquake hit Pakistan,” Dr. Khalid Mohammed Alothmani, Director KSRelief Pakistan, told Arab News in an interview this week, referring to a disaster in which about 75,000 people were killed in the country’s north. “We have carried out relief activities for quake and flood victims and focused our attention on several other areas.”
“We have joined hands together with our Pakistani brothers by working with them in times of need and will keep on doing so in the future as well,” Alothmani said.
According to Pakistan’s National Nutrition Survey 2018, 36.9 percent of households are “food insecure” while 18.3 percent face “severe” food insecurity. The survey also shows that 15 percent of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition, the second highest rate in the region. About 44 percent of children in the same age bracket suffer from stunted growth, 32 percent are underweight and a majority of children under two years of age consume less than half of their daily energy requirements, with low levels of vitamins and minerals.
To combat malnutrition, this year, KSRelief said it had distributed 18,250 food packages containing essential items that benefited 91,250 poor Pakistanis in different parts of the country. About 15,679 meat packs were also distributed among 109,753 people.
According to a KSRelief report, approximately 600,000 Pakistanis have benefited from its food related programs in 2019.
The agency distributed 230 tons of dates this year, the report said. Out of these, 80 tons were distributed through the World Food Program and 150 tons through the government of Pakistan. The report said at least 396,000 people benefited from the dates in the most vulnerable areas across the country.
“Dates donated by Saudi Arabia each year reach vulnerable segments of our society,” said Imtiaz Ali at Pakistan’s Ministry of National Food Security. “They serve a dual purpose since they can be stored for a longer time and provide high nutrition as well.”