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Country analysis

Pakistan


Conflict and natural hazards drive the humanitarian situation in Pakistan. Militancy has been targeting civilians and security forces since 2020 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan. Balochistan is Pakistan’s least urbanised and most impoverished province; a revival of separatist groups’ activities has resulted in greater instances of violence and repression against civilians, with attacks increasing significantly since 2021.

In KP, active militant groups, including the Taliban and Islamic State-affiliated groups, contribute to high levels of insecurity. In late 2022, the separatist group from KP called Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan announced the end of a ceasefire with the Pakistan Government. Since then, the number of attacks has been on the rise, causing high levels of insecurity.

Displacement within Pakistan is often temporary and recurring. Since 2009, insecurity has displaced over five million people in KP. IDPs are primarily housed in urban areas, particularly in Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi cities.

The presence of 1.3 million Afghan refugees in the country compounds the humanitarian situation by adding pressure to the strain on public infrastructure.

The economy of the country is also facing severe challenges in the form of debt, increased inflation, and catastrophic floods, along with militancy attacks.

Pakistan is prone to natural hazards, including seasonal flooding, avalanches, and earthquakes.

(EFSAS 21/06/2022, Al Jazeera 28/11/2022, ECHO accessed 30/01/2023, WB 06/10/2022, UNHCR accessed 30/01/2023)

Conflict and natural hazards drive the humanitarian situation in Pakistan. Militancy has been targeting civilians and security forces since 2020 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan. Balochistan is Pakistan’s least urbanised and most impoverished province; a revival of separatist groups’ activities has resulted in greater instances of violence and repression against civilians, with attacks increasing significantly since 2021.

In KP, active militant groups, including the Taliban and Islamic State-affiliated groups, contribute to high levels of insecurity. In late 2022, the separatist group from KP called Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan announced the end of a ceasefire with the Pakistan Government. Since then, the number of attacks has been on the rise, causing high levels of insecurity.

Displacement within Pakistan is often temporary and recurring. Since 2009, insecurity has displaced over five million people in KP. IDPs are primarily housed in urban areas, particularly in Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi cities.

The presence of 1.3 million Afghan refugees in the country compounds the humanitarian situation by adding pressure to the strain on public infrastructure.

The economy of the country is also facing severe challenges in the form of debt, increased inflation, and catastrophic floods, along with militancy attacks.

Pakistan is prone to natural hazards, including seasonal flooding, avalanches, and earthquakes.

(EFSAS 21/06/2022, Al Jazeera 28/11/2022, ECHO accessed 30/01/2023, WB 06/10/2022, UNHCR accessed 30/01/2023)

Latest updates on country situation

09 October 2023

In Pakistan, 2.14 million children are facing acute malnutrition, a more than 40% increase since 2022. Acute malnutrition is an enduring issue in the country, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, where high rates prevail. The economic crisis and the impact of the 2022 floods have reduced access to food, healthcare, and livelihoods, aggravating the nutrition crisis. (IPC 09/10/2023, WFP 29/09/2023, UNICEF 10/08/2023)

03 October 2023

Pakistan has issued a directive for more than a million undocumented Afghan refugees to leave voluntarily by 1 November 2023, warning of deportation through law enforcement or federal government institutions if they do not comply. Pakistan has also tightened entry rules for Afghans, requiring valid visas and passports. Since October, over 800 Afghans, including some with legal status, have been detained in Pakistan. These refugees are already facing challenges in renewing their documents. The new directive raises concerns about further hardships and vulnerabilities for them. (BBC 04/10/2023, AP 03/10/2023, VOA 02/10/2023)

19 September 2023

Afghan refugees in Pakistan are facing increased protection concerns, mainly because of a lack of legal documentation. In mid-September 2023, the caretaker government in Pakistan announced working on a new policy that would send back all Afghans in an irregular status in Pakistan back to Afghanistan. Since that announcement, there has been an increase in the arrest of Afghan refugees. Over 500 Afghans have been arrested, including women and children, despite some holding required documentation. The proof of registration cards that Afghan refugees were provided as a legal document in Pakistan expired in June 2023. Since then, renewal has been difficult for most given bureaucratic hurdles. Without legal documentation, refugees face arrest, torture, and deportation, and they cannot access essential services, such as healthcare, education, or employment. Between January–August 2023, 747,000 Afghans voluntary or forcibly returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, higher than 548,000 during the same period in 2022.
(DAWN 19/09/2023, TOLOnews 16/09/2023, OCHA 06/09/2023)

07 August 2023

Since mid-June 2023, heavy rainfall and flash floods have caused destruction across Pakistan, leading to 196 deaths and 283 injuries. The worst affected province is Balochistan, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, Azad Jammu, and Kashmir. As at 5 August, over 3,700 houses had been damaged, displacing more than 29,000 people from the flood-affected districts. In Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, emergency has been declared until 15 August. Heavy rainfall has destroyed roads and bridges in some areas, leaving the affected population without access to water, food, and medical supplies. The urgent needs of displaced people are food, shelter, clean water, medical supplies, and NFIs. According to preliminary analysis by UNOSAT based on the amount of rainfall between 26–30 July, ten million people are potentially exposed or residing near the flood-affected regions. (OCHA 08/08/2023, UNOSAT 07/08/2023, NDMA 05/08/2023)

16 May 2023

Pakistan is grappling with a severe food security crisis marked by a shortage of wheat and soaring food prices. This crisis is affecting low-income communities and flood-affected areas, where 14.6 million people require emergency food assistance. In 15 flood-affected districts, a recent survey found that one-third of children under two years old suffer from moderate acute malnutrition and 14% from severe acute malnutrition. With more than 4.4 million acres of agricultural land destroyed in the 2022 flood, wheat and rice production will be lower in 2023. Food price inflation continues to increase, reaching 48% in April. Several factors contribute to food scarcity, including adverse weather conditions, the macroeconomic crisis, political unrest, bureaucratic challenges, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The scarcity of food has resulted in social unrest and violence. The country's lower foreign reserves make it difficult to meet the increasing demand through imports. (WFP 10/05/2023, FSIN et al. 03/05/2023, CNBC 06/04/2023)

21 March 2023

As at March 21, more than six months after devastating floods hit Pakistan, 6.3 million people were still in need of WASH assistance, including safe drinking water. The flooding damaged most of the water systems in the affected areas, leaving over 5.4 million people, including 2.5 million children, relying solely on contaminated water.


Even before the floods, only 36% of the water in the country was considered safe for consumption. The prolonged lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, along with the continued proximity of flood-affected and flood-displaced families to bodies of stagnant water, is contributing to widespread outbreaks of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, dengue, and malaria.


The lack of safe water and sanitation is also contributing to malnutrition, with over 1.5 million boys and girls already severely malnourished. The practice of open defecation has also increased by more than 14% in the flood-affected regions, disproportionately affecting children, adolescent girls, and women who are at added risk of shame and harm.
(WASH Cluster accessed 29/03/2023, UN 21/03/2023, UNICEF accessed 28/03/2023, Al Jazeera 21/03/2023, PD 24/03/2023, The New Arab 21/03/2023, Première Urgence Internationale 28/03/2023)

current crises
in Pakistan


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

PAK005 - Monsoon floods 2022

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Other seasonal event

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.7 High

Access constraints

4.0

PAK001 - Complex crisis

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Displacement
Conflict

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

4 High

Access constraints

4.0

PAK004 - Kashmir conflict

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Conflict

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

Access constraints

4.0

REG003 - Regional Kashmir conflict

Last updated 27/11/2023


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

Access constraints

4.0

Analysis products
on Pakistan

Afghanistan-Pakistan: forced return of Afghans from Pakistan

07 December 2023

Afghanistan-Pakistan: forced return of Afghans from Pakistan

DOCUMENT / PDF / 481 KB

On 3 October 2023, Pakistani authorities announced that all foreigners in the country without valid documents would be forced to leave by 1 November or face arrest and deportation.

Displacement
Pakistan: flooding

30 November 2022

Pakistan: flooding

DOCUMENT / PDF / 2 MB

Since June 2022, heavy monsoon rainfall has led to an unprecedented crisis in Pakistan, causing floods, flash floods, and landslides. The disaster has significantly affected southern and central Pakistan, mostly affecting Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh provinces . 

Natural hazards
Pakistan: Floods

31 August 2022

Pakistan: Floods

DOCUMENT / PDF / 219 KB

Since 14 June, Pakistan has been experiencing an abnormal monsoon rainfall season, close to three times more intense than the past 30-year average. As at 29 August, the floods had killed more than 1,000 people, injured 1,600, and affected more than 33 million (equivalent to nearly 15% of the total population).

Natural hazards
Pakistan: Floods

02 February 2022

Pakistan: Floods

DOCUMENT / PDF / 207 KB

Heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall, and sub-zero temperatures hit Balochistan province between 4–10 January, causing flash floods and landslides. The floods affected over 17,300 people in 41 villages within the Gwadar district and damaged or destroyed more than 500 houses.

Natural hazards
Pakistan: Sindh Heatwave April-May 2017

24 April 2017

Pakistan: Sindh Heatwave April-May 2017

DOCUMENT / PDF / 441 KB

Many rural areas of Sindh are currently experiencing daily highs above 40°C, which are forecast to continue until early May. Heatwaves in the past have caused considerable health impacts including dehydration, sunburn, and heatstroke. Impacts on WASH lead to additional health risks such as waterborne diseases.

Natural hazards
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