Tharparkar drought

Tharparkar desert in Sindh is the largest desert of Pakistan and the eighteenth largest in the world with an area of 22,000 square kilometers. The population of Tharparkar is 1.5 million. This is the only district in Pakistan where more than 50 percent of the populations are Hindus. The land in Tharparkar is highly fertile but unfortunately most of it is desert, so that production of crops depends on rains during summer. Rains fall from mid-June to mid-August each year. For the last ten years drought has become a frequent phenomenon in tharparkar due to increase in pollution and climatic changes. During droughts it becomes hard for them to even find water to drink.

During drought-like situations in Tharparkar, the majority of people in the agricultural workforce eat meals of red pepper or onion and sometimes rabri (a mixture of milk or curd and boiled grains). The survival of people is difficult in such persistent situation as every third year is drought year and famine hit the land at least once every decade. Children died as a result of malnutrition and thirst. Hospitals and Ambulance services are reportedly very rarely provided for these children, forcing parent to travel long distance to take their children. As a result of drought and other poverty factors, many pregnant women do not get proper medical treatment and food so that their babies are born with abnormalities or susceptibility to diseases and early death. Their life is very simple; they are kind-hearted people and never think to harm others. The drought in Thar has been ongoing for ten years, the government has not considered this issue serious and the problem has been growing each year. Tharparkar is considered the most backward area of Pakistan so that funds from international donors are in the millions of dollars. The government issues budgets for development, but it almost all goes to corrupt leaders and does not reach the affected people. Making smaller dams to stop water wastage during rain can also stop the need for migration and prevent drought in Tharparkar. The government and other development organizations must create economic resources for the people of the area to find proper employment and create economic possibilities for them to assist them in leading a formal and permanent life in Tharparkar, so they can educate their children and grow. Then they can make Tharparkar the peaceful, heavenly place it has the potential to become.

Attia Saleem

Student, IIUI


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