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ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that the drought-like situation in southern Punjab

and parts of Sindh, particularly Thraparkar, will continue in the coming days as no rains are predicted in those areas.

The authority, however, said that Tharparkar was not facing a famine.

The NDMA said it had had interactions with the rehabilitation department of Sindh, the PDMA Sindh and the deputy commissioner of Mithi and reached the conclusion that the situation was not as grave as being reported by “some quarters”.

“So far, deaths of 23 children have been reported at Mithi District Hospital in February but the same are not being attributed to drought according to the health official. NDMA is closely monitoring the situation in the affected area in Tharparkar,” the authority said in a statement.

It said the dry weather conditions would continue in the region as the Met office had not predicted significant rainfall in southern parts of the country, including Sindh.

“Since there are reports of water stress and drought-like situation in Tharparkar, this information was shared with all concerned for necessary mitigation measure,” it added.

A team of the NDMA officers headed by Brig Mirza Kamran Zia, member operations, in consultation with the government of Sindh would complete ground assessment of the situation to suggest additional measures, if needed.

Response to matters relating to health and nutrition was being looked into by the ministry of health services.

About the migration of people from the Thar area, the NDMA said the provincial government had explained that it was an annual phenomenon for Kolhi and Bheel communities to migrate during wheat harvesting season with their cattle to canal-irrigated areas to work as farm labour.

“Meanwhile, the PDMA Sindh and Punjab are kept constantly updated on development of drought-like situation in all areas likely to be affected, including Cholistan, Khairpur and Tharparkar,” the authority said.

Regarding the relief efforts, it was highlighted that the relief department of Sindh had notified on Feb 28 the entire Tharparkar district, except for a few areas, as `calamity affected area’.

The government of Sindh has released Rs770 million worth of food assistance package, it said.