ISLAMABAD - The United States will donate 1,330 metric tons of therapeutic food supplies to more than 80,000 acutely malnourished children in Pakistan.

Deputy Mission Director US Agency for International Development (USAID), Nancy Estes, presented the food shipment to UNICEF Pakistan Country Director Dr Dan Rohrmann and Imtiaz Inayat Ellahi, federal secretary, ministry of national health services, regulation and coordination. The in-kind contribution of food stuffs valued at approximately Rs 75 million will help UNICEF Pakistan reach its goal of treating more than 125,000 Pakistani children aged 6 months to five years in 2014-15. Since 2009, the United States has provided over $600 million in food assistance to Pakistan.

"Pakistan ranks third in the global burden of stunting and wasting. The high levels of malnutrition rates cost 2 to 3 per cent of Pakistan's GDP each year," Estes said. "The ongoing support to the community-based management of acute malnutrition programme is an indication of USAID's commitment to mitigate the impacts of the nutrition emergency in the country and help Pakistan move towards a brighter future," she added. The 2011 National Nutrition Survey in Pakistan found that 44 per cent of children under five years of age are stunted as a result of chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition contributes - directly or indirectly - to almost 45 per cent of all deaths among children under five in Pakistan.