At least four more children lost their lives due to dearth of food and water in Tharparkar on Sunday.
Three-month old Geeta, eight-day old Subhagi, five-day old Babu and fifteen-day old Ahmed died falling prey to Thar famine at Civil Hospital Mithi. Moreover, the death toll has mounted to 361 in 130 days whereas on the other hand, Sindh government suspended the relief activities to the victims of Thar. The inefficient supply of aid wheat, medicines and blankets has added to the problems of the affected people. Local administration has not paid heed to the deteriorating situation of Thar whereas government’s tall claims remained unfulfilled.
Tharparkar is spread over 22,000 square kilometers, with a population of about 1.5 million people. At an average, every third year is a drought year. The region faces famine at least once every decade. More than 80 per cent of the people’s livelihood is dependent on agriculture and livestock that is mostly dependent on the rain. In fact, livestock, fully or partially, contributes to the economy of every household in the district. The provincial government seems to be failed miserably to provide relief of any kind to the deprived masses. Children are dying of malnutrition in Tharparkar; people have no other option but to drink filthy water that causes numerous diseases. Sindh government has been unable to make adequate arrangements as all the relief initiatives are restricted to certain areas and far flung areas still looking for the assistance.
The three-year drought has brought agriculture to a standstill. The monsoon brought no rain to the region and there is no fodder or water for livestock. The government has been sleeping and not fulfilling its job, and there is no excuse for the pathetic conditions these people are living in. It is more tragic that there is no contingency plan prepared by the government. There is neither provincial emergency operation centre nor a disaster management authority operating in the region.