World Food Programme-funded surveys in four districts along the Line of Control (LoC) - Muzaffarabad, Haweli, Hattian Bala and Neelam Valley - showed 38 per cent women and 21 per cent children were "malnourished", said Saqib Bukhari, a programme manager for the project.

"In all the four districts, including Neelam Valley, more than 32,000 pregnant or lactating women and 76,500 children were examined during the four months ending December 2013," Bukhari said.

According to a survey by the World Food Programme-funded Community Based Management of Malnutrition, "32 per cent women and 22 percent children were found to suffer malnutrition" in Neelam Valley, said Malik Saadat, an assistant monitoring officer for the project.

About 4,500 women and more than 2,000 children in Neelam Valley were provided food supplements so far, and the process is continuing, he said.

The survey in Neelam Valley was based on a sample of nearly 23,000 women and 8,000 children who were examined last year.

Neelam Valley is located along the LoC and has been "exposed to militant conflict for two decades", the report said.

Last year, the LoC witnessed clashes and heavy firing from both sides after Pakistani troops beheaded an Indian soldier in January and killed five more in August.

The report said the conflict had "left many women widowed and children orphaned", and caused huge losses to public and private property. The region was also affected by a major earthquake in 2005.

(Agencies)

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