Children still dying in Thar due to drought: PRFNovember 11, 2014
KARACHI: Tharparkar @Mithi district, which usually receives rainfall only during the monsoon season, witnessed no rains during monsoon this year. The rain deficit in parts of district resulted in no agriculture production, shortage of food, and fodder for livestock. The situation aggravated in the months of August, September and November with continuous losses of precious lives of innocent children. The outbreak of sheep pox and other diseases affected livestock heads. Later, situation turned into severe phase, and till date, scores of children have died due to malnutrition, said an assessment report conducted by Pakistan Relief Foundation (PRF).
The report further said said: “It is the prime job of federal government to chalk out pre-disaster strategies to secure the precious lives of people and their properties but if natural disasters came in shape of floods, earthquake or droughts in any nook and corner of country, the sitting federal government should come forward through its concerned ministry or institutions and help people at large scale. There is a National Disasters Management Authority (NDMA) working under the federal government which remained silent over the Tharparkar drought. The drought situation emerging since last three continuous years but no officials of NDMA visited affected areas and nor they gave support to the victim families.”
In 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had visited Tharparkar and announced to give Rs1 billion to the provincial government and in 2014. Though, many provincial ministers have claimed that drought is no more and children are not dyeing due to malnutrition, but PRF has witnessed killing due to drought and famine situation in majority of villages of Tharparkar.
During the PRF’s Phase-I relief activities from November 3rd to 7th 2014, it was observed that villagers are still migrating, innocent children are dying and people are living with pathetic conditions at their homes.
It could be recalled that in August 2012, last provincial government, led by Pakistan People’s Party, had declared Tharparkar as calamity-hit as they had assessed the situation of drought and famine on time and they succeeded to save the livestock heads and precious lives of people.
It is pertinent to mention here that Haleem Adil Shaikh was Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh for Relief department and he had done this step which was appreciated at large level.
In 2013 drought situation, the current Sindh government which is also of PPP, had not taken pre-drought steps to secure the people of Tharparkar @Mithi. When livestock started to die from October 2013, the provincial government didn’t take notice of it. Later on, things became more serous in November, December-2013, January, February and March 2014, and when media pointed out the deaths of livestock along with innocent children than government opened their eyes.
Same happened in 2014, there was no contingency plan prepared by the government. There has neither been any provincial emergency operation centre nor a provincial or district disaster management authority operational in the area. The provincial government along with all concnerned departments particularly Relief, Food, Livestock, Health, and others should have plan and adopt drought-mitigation and risk-reduction strategies to avoid the huge losses coming out of the continuous drought in the area.
PRF Relief operation from November 3rd to 7th: PRF team reached at Tharparkar@Mithi to provide relief to the drought-affected people. Led by Founder Chairman Haleem Adil Sheikh, the team distributed 50 water tankers among the 2000 people. The team also provided health facilities to the affectees as PRF ambulance and doctors were part of mobile medical unit. The doctors visited many villages of the area including Kaloi, Kharrak, More jee wandh, Badriyo, Hilaryo, Mokhaar, Manhrrojee, Manwar Parro, and others, treated more then 3000 patients, majority of patients were children. The medical team also gave them various kinds of medicines. PRF team reached at District hospital Mithi where patients were lying under open sky-ground without any medication due to scarcity of beds in the hospital. It was witnessed that there was no pediatrician available in the hospital, only medical officer was facing the emergency situation despite the fact that media and government both had highlighted the emergency. During the visits, PRF Chairman Mr. Haleem Adil Shaikh met with the people and inquired about the problems they are facing.
Earlier, the PRF has done relef operation in Gloarchi area of Badin District where thousands of Tharparkar IDPs are living on the road-sides. The PRF medical mobile unit treated the patiensts and gave them medicines. Mr. Haleem Adil Shaikh met with the drought affected families and inquired about the problems. He also distributed toys among a big number of children.