PM Shehbaz says 'emergency relief measures' underway in cholera-hit Pir Koh

Published May 15, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AP/file
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AP/file

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday said emergency relief measures were "underway" hours after state media reported he had taken notice of a cholera outbreak in Dera Bugti district's Pir Koh tehsil.

Pir Koh tehsil has been the centre of a cholera outbreak of late, which health officials attribute to a lack of access to potable water. At least six people have died, which has led to protests.

PM Shehbaz took to Twitter to announce that the situation "is being monitored very closely" and that the federal government would extend its support & assistance to Balochistan.

Earlier, Radio Pakistan reported that the prime minister — who is expected to return later today after travelling to London and the UAE — had issued directives for providing food items, clean drinking water and other assistance to those affected while also ensuring provision of medicines.

The developments come a day after the residents of Pir Koh took out a rally and staged a sit-in over a lack of clean drinking water and the alarming rise in the number of cholera cases.

People took to the roads in droves, carrying banners and placards inscribed with their demands, chanting slogans against the government and the local administration, before finally staging a sit-in and blocking the road leading towards the gas plant.

Local tribal elders speaking on the occasion said there was an outbreak of cholera due to the absence of clean drinking water in Pir Koh. “We have no other option but to drink contaminated water from the ponds along with the animals,” they said.

People had been protesting for the last two days, but no steps had been taken so far to provide clean drinking water, they lamented, adding that around a dozen, including children, people had lost their lives to cholera so far in Pir Koh tehsil.

However, health officials have confirmed six deaths so far.

“Six people, including three young children, died of cholera in Pir Koh,” said Balochistan Health Secretary Mohammad Saleh Nasar.

He said teams of doctors and paramedical staff had reached the affected areas along with required medicines. Besides, a medical camp had been set up by the health department to treat the affected people, he said.

Dera Bugti District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Azam Bugti told Dawn.com yesterday that the number of cumulative cholera patients had reached 2,577, noting 210 new infections.

Also yesterday, Senator Sarfraz Bugti of the Balochistan Awami Party urged authorities to declare an emergency in Pir Koh, take stock of the situation and lend aid to the afflicted, along with completing water supply schemes. He had also disputed the official death toll.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo recently approved additional funds of Rs300 million for emergency completion of ongoing water supply projects in Dera Bugti district. In a meeting with provincial adviser Nawabzada Ghuram Bugti, he had discussed the solution to the water crisis in different areas of the Dera Bugti district.

Opinion

Editorial

No end to hostility
Updated 17 Aug, 2022

No end to hostility

It is time for all parties to rise above petty tactics and hostilities for political gains and pull country back from brink.
Deadly accidents
17 Aug, 2022

Deadly accidents

TWO horrific accidents on Tuesday, which resulted in high death tolls, illustrate the dangers people face while ...
New banknote
17 Aug, 2022

New banknote

PAKISTAN has a new currency note to mark the diamond jubilee of independence. The 75-rupee banknote, issued by the...
Shared goals
Updated 16 Aug, 2022

Shared goals

It is high time that all parties realise that negotiation on the economy does not need to be held hostage to political rivalries.
Making amends?
16 Aug, 2022

Making amends?

WHERE relations with the US are concerned, there has been a distinct shift in Imran Khan’s tone. While the PTI...
Hazardous celebration
16 Aug, 2022

Hazardous celebration

CAN celebratory actions that often result in death or lifelong injuries really be described as such? Be it Eid, New...