High prevalence of food insecurity in peri-urban communities in Karachi, Pakistan: The flood aftermath

Kaniz Amna Haider, Zoya Surani, Ayesha Khalid, Syed Ali Jaffar Zaidi, Rumassah Chohan, Zahra Hoodbhoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Food insecurity (FI) is at a steep risk, especially in low middle-income countries. FI is further compounded in areas that experience environmental and economic instability, thus a reassessment in such critical times is required for burden estimation and to propose targeted interventions. Aims: The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of, and sociodemographic factors associated with FI, as well as the coping strategies utilized in response to FI in peri-urban communities in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey from November-December 2022 on 400 households in four peri-urban communities in Karachi, Pakistan. The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI) questionnaire were used to assess FI. A Poisson regression was used to assess associations between sociodemographic factors and FI. Results: The overall prevalence of FI was found to be 60.2% (n = 241) of which 33.8% (n = 135) were severely food insecure. Age, women's and breadwinners’ education, women's occupation, and parity were significantly associated with FI. Participants reported relying on less expensive foods (44%) and borrowing food or help from others (35%) as the most common coping strategies overall in the FI households. Conclusion: With more than half the households facing FI and adopting severe measures to cope in these communities, it is pivotal to design and test interventions that can withstand economic and climate catastrophes and help ensure a safety need for food security for the most vulnerable.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition and Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Food insecurity
  • Pakistan
  • coping strategies
  • floods
  • maternal and child health
  • peri-urban
  • prevalence
  • socio demographics


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