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Pakistan Food Crisis Takes Gory Turn As 5 Die Outside Flour Distribution Centres

5 people died outside flour distribution centres in Pakistan's Punjab province in separate incidents.Free flour distribution centres in Pakistan are seeing surging crowds as the cash-trapped nation battles a burgeoning food crisis. In Muzaffargarh's Jatoi, an elderly woman who had gone to collect free flour fell to the ground in the crowded area and died on the spot. The woman has been identified as Zahra Mai.

In the second incident, a man named Mohammad Safdar collected four bags of flour from the distribution centre, loaded them on his motorcycle, and while he was riding, fell down and lost his life, Dawn reported citing eyewitness accounts.

Why are crowds surging outside flour distribution centres?

Pakistan is facing the worst food crisis in its history. One of the things that have become increasingly scarce is flour, which often forms part of the staple diet in Pakistan as well as other parts of South Asia. A battered economy due to low forex reserves and with consequences of a massive flood to deal with, authorities in Pakistan are finding it difficult to fulfill the basic food requirements of the citizenry.

Local media reports indicate that flour prices have gone up to Rs 3,000 Pakistani rupees a packet and fights and brawls over flour are being reported from the streets of Pakistan.

People are standing in long queues outside food distribution centres and the gatherings are often turning tense on account of scarcity in the retail market.

Videos of people fighting over wheat have emerged on social media. Wheat and flour-loaded trucks are moved in Pakistan escorted by armed guards. Authorities in Pakistan say the food crisis may grow worse in coming days as much of the wheat in stock has been exhausted.

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