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Food security and health

It is mostly the communities of Manchar Lake who speak of serious food shortages. Allah Bux says, “We often remain hungry‚Ķ”, and like Khamiso, says even tea is a luxury.

Basran and Karim Bux also emphasise the difficulties of buying or producing enough food; older people hold back, sometimes only eating once, so that at least the young have three meals a day.

Nasreen says she often has to go out to beg for flour, while Basran tells of how they are sometimes so hungry they eat rotten fish and”their insides are on fire”.

Almost everyone speaks of the high cost of medical care. For those living by Manchar Lake, man-made pollution led to a drastic decline in people’s income from fishing at the same time as increasing their expenditure on health problems.

Hodat, Basran, Karim Bux and Fatima all speak of the impact of water-borne disease, especially on young children.

Mircho and Chhutta talk of “dual standards” in health provision, saying that the poor are given out-of-date medicines.


Food security and health is a key theme of the Living with poverty: Pakistan oral testimony project.


Allah Bux: older generation

Basran: desperate times

Chhutta: migrant’s tale

Fatima: vulnerable lives

Hodat: diversifying business

Karim Bux: lacking support

Khamiso: looking back

Kishore: living prudently

Mircho: losing dignity

Nasreen: just surviving

Nazeer: high standards

Salma: independent spirit

Key themes

Introduction to the project

Loans and debt

Survival strategies

The cost of poverty

Environmental decline


Political representation


Insecurity and conflict


Food security and health