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Sindh govt rejects Punjab's aid offer for famine-hit Tharparkar

Updated March 08, 2014
Image shows a native woman of Tharparkar with her child.— Photo by Hussain Afzal
Image shows a native woman of Tharparkar with her child.— Photo by Hussain Afzal

KARACHI: The Sindh government rejected an aid offer on Saturday made by its Punjab counterpart for the famine-hit people of Tharparkar, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.

Earlier on Friday, authorities had ordered a probe into the death of 41 children who reportedly died of pneumonia and malnutrition in a stretch of the Thar desert.

Media reports from Mithi, one of the least developed and most remote districts in southern Sindh province, had suggested that more than 100 people had died because of famine and malnutrition.

“It is a very serious matter and we have deputed a senior member of the party and officials to probe into the deaths,” Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the chief minister of Sindh, had told reporters.

The minister also ordered the arrest of senior health officials for neglecting their duties, saying they had failed to move the children to hospitals in the bigger cities.

Shah said the cause of the deaths would be confirmed by the investigation but apparently pneumonia and malnutrition were among the reasons.

The chief minister said the government records showed the death of 41 children but there were fears that the actual number may be higher.

The Thar desert begins around 300 kilometres (200 miles) from Karachi and runs up to the border with India, where it joins the Rajasthan desert.

In 2000, the desert suffered a famine that killed 90 per cent of the livestock, the economic mainstay of the area.