Stampede for food aid sees eleven killed in Pakistan

Photo: Anadolu Agency/ GettyImages

Eleven people were killed in a stampede during the distribution of food aid in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Friday, a health official said, making for one of several tragic incidents of this kind in recent weeks, as the country’s economic crisis continues on.

The dead include five women and three children, police reported, while five other people were hospitalized following the incident, which occurred at a charity-run distribution site set up at a local factory.

Thousands of people have gathered at flour distribution centers set up across the country, some as part of a government-backed program to ease the impact of inflation, which is running above 30 percent, a 50-year high.

At least five other people have been killed and several injured in recent weeks at similar sites in other provinces in Pakistan. Thousands of bags of flour have also been looted from trucks and distribution points according to official records. The stampedes underscore the people’s desperation in the face of soaring costs, exacerbated by Pakistan’s falling currency and removal of subsidies agreed on with the International Monetary Fund to unlock the latest tranche of its financial support packages.

The costs of basic goods have surged, with flour prices rising more than 45 percent in the past year.

The Pakistani government has launched a flour distribution program to reach millions of families in need during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan which began last week.