Eleven killed in stampede for food aid in southern Pakistan
KARACHI, March 31 (Reuters) - 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, one of several such incidents in recent weeks as the country's economic crisis bites.
The dead included five women and three children, police said, while five other people were hospitalised 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 centres set up across the country, some as part of a government-backed programme to ease the impact of inflation, which is running above 30%, a 50-year high.
At least five other people have been killed and several injured in recent weeks at 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 people's desperation in the face of soaring costs, exacerbated by Pakistan's falling currency and a removal of subsidies agreed 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% in the past year.
The Pakistani government has launched the flour distribution programme to reach millions of families in need during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan that began last week.
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