Four people have died due to a cholera outbreak in Dera Bugti district's Pirkoh tehsil because of the unavailability of clean drinking water, according to a health official.

Dera Bugti District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Azam Bugti told Dawn.com that four people, including a two-year-old and a woman, had died after drinking contaminated water from a puddle.

He said the first cholera case had emerged on April 17 and 1,500 people had fallen ill with the disease till now, with as many as 123 new cases reported on Wednesday.

The number of patients in the district headquarters hospital had increased to such an extent that healthcare workers were accommodating patients on the ground, Dr Bugti said, adding that medicines were also running out.

On Monday, Senator Sarfraz Bugti had requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo to instruct the relevant authorities to declare an emergency in Pirkoh.

According to locals, there was no clean water supply line from the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department due to which people were forced to drink water from puddles and ponds.

The PHE is a government department tasked with the development and provision of safe drinking water and sewerage projects, according to Balochistan government's website.

Bizenjo takes notice

CM Bizenjo took notice of the unavailability of potable water in Pirkoh and approved the release of Rs10 million in special funds to the PHE department on an emergency basis.

According to a statement issued from the CM Secretariat, the release of funds would enable the PHE department to supply water to the residents of the affected areas through tankers.

CM Bizenjo further ordered that the supply of water tankers should continue until the onset of monsoon rains and an increase in water reserves.

Moreover, he had also directed Sibi division's commissioner to personally monitor the steps taken to resolve the water crisis.

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