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Women, children in Pakistan's Neelum valley face malnutrition, survey shows

Publication Date : 28-01-2014


The mountainous and remote Neelum valley in the extreme north of Pakistani-administered Kashmir appears to be facing a serious problem of malnutrition among women and children, reveals a United Nations survey.

Conducted by the World Food Programme-funded Community Based Management of Malnutrition (CMAM), the survey is based on a sample of nearly 23,000 women and 8,000 children who were examined last year.

“Out of them, 32 per cent women and 22 per cent children were found to suffer malnutrition” said Malik Saadat, an assistant monitoring officer of the project.

He said about 4,500 women and more than 2,000 children have been provided food supplements under the programme so far, and the process is continuing.

Neelum valley is located along the Line of Control (LoC) and has been exposed to militant conflict for two decades.

The picturesque Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by the UN-monitored de facto border of LoC but is claimed in full by both countries. Of more recently, the LoC has also been a scene of clashes and firing from the two sides.

The conflict has left many women widowed and children orphaned, and caused huge losses to public and private property.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme-funded surveys are being conducted in three other districts of Kashmir as well. All are located along the LoC and have been exposed to militant conflict for two decades. They include Muzaffarabad, Haweli and Hattian Bala

The region also suffered a major earthquake in 2005.

“In all the four districts, including Neelum valley, more than 32,000 pregnant or lactating women and 76,500 children were examined during the four months ending December 2013. Out of them, 38 per cent women and 21 per cent children were found to be malnourished,” Saqib Bukhari, a programme manager in the project, said.


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