— File photo
— File photo

KARACHI / MITHI: Most areas of Sindh’s Tharparkar district are facing a famine-like situation and at least 32 malnourished children are reported to have died. About 175,000 families are reported to have been affected and some of them have been forced to leave their homes and move to barrage areas.

According to a report received on Thursday, PPP patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has expressed concern over the situation and ordered the Sindh government to immediately launch a relief operation. He has set up a special committee to monitor the situation.

The PPP leader called his adviser on minority affairs, Surendar Valasai, who is from Thar, and said he would take up the issue with Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to ensure that relief and rehabilitation measures were undertaken across the affected area.

He said elected representatives, leaders and workers of the PPP would fully cooperate with the Sindh government in ameliorating the situation.

Only nine of 166 dehs in Tharparkar district are located in the command area of a barrage. The rest are in the desert where people mostly depend on rain for growing food and fodder crops.

The area received no rain, except a little drizzle in the beginning of the current season. Almost all reservoirs have dried up and Thar is facing a famine-like situation. Tharparkar is hit by drought every two or three years, causing severe shortage of food, resulting in malnutrition, diseases and death. Children and pregnant women are affected the most.

There is no proper healthcare facility in the Mithi Civil Hospital where the 32 children have died because of malnutrition. A large number of sheep, camels, cows and goats have died in the arid, rain-dependent district. Scores of peafowl have perished in various villages, but the wildlife department is yet to take any significant step to improve the situation.

Reports received from Diplo, Chhachhro, Islamkot, Dahli and Nagarparkar suggest that many poor Thari families were moving to barrage areas, along with their livestock.

Relatives of the patients admitted to the hospital in Mithi complained that its administration was not providing medicines and they were forced to buy expensive drugs. “We cannot feed our children, how can we purchase medicines?”

District Health Officer Dr Abdul Jalil Bhurgri told Dawn that 36 children were reported to have died in the Civil Hospital. Twenty-three of them were under five years of age and underweight. The main cause of death was malnutrition.

MPA Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani visited the hospital on Wednesday, along with Tharparkar Deputy Commissioner Makhdoom Aqil-uz-Zaman. Civil Surgeon Dr Jawaharlal told them that shortage of medicines, doctors, paramedics and sanitary workers had added to people’s misery.

Mr Malani assured the hospital administration that the problems would be solved soon.

Although the Sindh government has declared Tharparkar a calamity-hit district, it is yet to take any concrete measure to avert further losses. Its announcement to provide 60,000 wheat bags to the drought-hit people of Thar is yet to materialise.

The district administration is reported to have told the relief commissioner that 60,000 wheat bags would not meet the requirement of about 175,000 drought-hit families.


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Comments (17) Closed




eager beaver
Mar 07, 2014 08:20am

Wake up Mr.Chief Minister Sindh! Do something for these poor people.

Dr A Saeed
Mar 07, 2014 08:22am

**strong text***Sindh Gov destroy billion of Rupees on the non sense Sindh festival ...at that time dozens of childrens facing death in Thar ....Where was Master Bilawal at that time ,flying kites,dance etc.Who is responsibe ??? 88 years old CM , 21 years Old Crown Prince Bilawal , The PPP ???*

abbas kd
Mar 07, 2014 08:41am

Since when Bilawal Zardari had become the "Boss" of the Sindh government for giving "order" to them ? He calls himself "educated" in the West, is this how the children of British politicians behaves & "order" the government in UK ? He should be ashamed of his behaviour & the Pakistani public needs to know that these politicians for three generations were in the government & what they have done for the country & the people there.

Tab
Mar 07, 2014 09:25am

One is surprised that Bilawal is not holding a 'festival' in Thar and launching a full media campaign to tell us that "this is the real Pakistan". Bilawal lives in luxury...he cannot understand what hunger is...children will continue to die...and the ever-aging CM of Sindh will do nothing, absolutely nothing because of only this trait he has got everything in life.

Muhammad
Mar 07, 2014 09:29am

I don't know, when our leaders start taking responsibility. I think this is a also a kind of terrorism from the government. Just need answer who is responsible for death of more than 100 children. Please let us know.

Mediator
Mar 07, 2014 11:36am

I had a person working under me, and he was from Bhutto clan. Before the last election campaigns started, I asked him who he was going to vote. Not to my surprise, he said PPP. When I asked why, he was confused and gave me the look as if I had committed a sin like blasphemy. I feel sad for their suffering, but I feel angered as my tax money is going to be used in aid for the incompetence of their chosen leader. Long live democracy of poor and unwise.

Zulfiqar
Mar 07, 2014 11:37am

I am 100% Sure that PPP will do nothing in Sindh because they only know to issue statements and give Speeches but do nothing for the Walfare of peoples.. Most of the MPA's and MNA's never visit the Place from where they have one the Elections..

Iqra
Mar 07, 2014 01:38pm

I want to help them with my little savings.. How can I? I mean is there any organization or group of youth collecting funds for them... please tell me..!!

ajk
Mar 07, 2014 07:45pm

Amrytya Sen the recipient of Nobel Prize postulated that a famine cannot occur in a democracy. Exceptions only prove the rule!

syed waqar ali shah
Mar 08, 2014 12:27am

The Thar desert a traditional place of Pakistan has been criminally neglected by the corrupt regime. Over 120 kids died ,what a cultural event. Where is the leadership where are those people who are running the cultural show..Bilawal cultural show...The traditional Thar cultural Show....people of Thar are ready to show their cultural show with their femine hit kids dead bodies, who died because of hunger. Where is that criminal Elite, why the action were delayed.Let the Criminal elite come with their fan and fare and show the word the actual face and the actual show..THE THAR CULTURAL SHOW..SHAME

Taimur
Mar 08, 2014 12:29am

This is indeed a sad story.Mr.Billawal please forget about cultural festival till the conditions improve in Thar. Spend the same on these people whom you owe. They have been voting for you for dacades. And Mr. Prime Minister, if you did not get votes from Sindh it doesn't mean that Thar is not part of Pakistan. People of Thar has as much right on the resources of Pakistan as people of Lahore. Suspend the Lahore Youth Festival for 5 years and spend same on the provision of food and medicine to the people of Thar. Even if you are interested in publicity, you can please give ads in newspapers ( like doing for youth festival ) but instead of spending on making stupid records please spend on health and food in Thar.

A Saeed
Mar 08, 2014 08:41am

@Mediator: I fell shame this type of SINDH DEMOCRACY.....

A Saeed
Mar 08, 2014 08:51am

@Iqra: iQRA , KINDLY PRESSURISED THE GOV BY SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE THIS , AND DONATE TO EDHI , KKF, ETC

Hafeez
Mar 08, 2014 07:05pm

We all are responsible for the death of these innocent children because we are the one who have elected these corrupt politicians who were enjoying the musical nights just next to these dying children. I am so much ashamed that I am living in a country where there is a surplus wheat and people are dying of hunger. I can only say that may Allah forgive us.

Hafeez
Mar 09, 2014 04:33am

@Muhammad: yes indeed it is a type of terrorrism

Oz
Mar 10, 2014 12:06pm

@Iqra: hats off to you, that is the spirit !

I am yet to see any trustworthy charity campaign. If you are in Pakistan, get a few frinds tongether and go yourself. There is nothing more rewarding than making a direct contact, even if it means a small contribution.

may Allah reward you.

rudra
Mar 10, 2014 03:44pm

Tharparkar has a sizeable hindu population. I hope the neglect or late response to help is not because of that