Thar Rehabilitation Seminar: No access for basic health, water & education

Mukesh Raja

Mithi: Poor quality of drinking water and nutrient deficiency lead to diseases which claimed more than 200 children in Tharparkar district. People don’t have the access to health care facilities. Sindh government needs to take issues seriously rather than polities the disaster. Participants shared their stress in a consultative seminar on “Rehabilitation in Tharparkar” held by Rehabilitation Department and Federation of Pakistan chamber of Commerce here at Darbar Hall, DC office Mithi.

Speakers also urge government authorities to make all basic health units functional and upgrade them with basic facilities and required staff. Meanwhile, it was also demanded that increase the veterinary services in Tharparkar.

Speaking on the occasion Asif Akram, Deputy Commissioner of Tharparkar shared that total 253,580 people in Tharparkar was affected by current drought like situation, he further told that district authorities have distributed 126760 wheat bags among affected population.

Syed Salman Shah, DG of PDMA shared that we are continuously monitoring the situation of Tharparkar, there is a dire need to take long term mitigation measures to support the livelihood sources of people in Tharparkar. Poor economic condition of people is also a root cause of drought in Thar. He added

Roshan Ali Shaikh, Secretary Rehabilitation department Govt. of Sindh said that, we should prioritize the issues while we are planning. The people of Tharparkar don’t have even safe drinking water. He further said that we should also explore the other option to cope the water issues in desert. Rainwater harvesting could be the alternate source if people don’t accept the technology of reverse osmosis. He add that Sindh food security is prepared and will be share with all stakeholders soon

Shaikh Siddique, Chairman Federation of Pakistan chamber of Commerce stressed that there is less coordination among working stakeholders which ultimately increase the intensity of drought.

Ghulam Mustafa Abro, a DRM specialist shared that Tharparkar is known as water stressed area, water be made available for living in Tharparkar. He further told that there more than 200 fire incidents are reported every year in Tharparkar; we should have proper arrangements for these sudden disasters. He was worried to shared that situation may be worse in coming few months when available water sources will dry.

Zafar Iqbal, secretary livestock and fisheries department highlighted that we don’t have single veterinary hospital in Tharparkar where we have around 6.5 million livestock but resources and facilities are not available. He further stressed that department don’t have veterinary staff in order to active immunization program and routine vaccination.

Dr. Sono Khangharani, a social scientist shared that, we should learn from our failures if we don’t then we suffer. He urged that formation of “Thar Development Authority” should not be politically motivated.

Taj Haider, Relief Coordinator for relief activities in Tharparkar shared Govt. of Sindh has planned to support 60,000 families for strategic support. Youth of the area will be trained to ensure their livelihood sources.  Mr. Taj Haider added that distribution of relief material will be continued till coming four months. Summer session is under way and death casualties might be raised in hot season. 5-acre land would be distributed among Thari rural women and 3 thousands will be given to poor Thari female students as honorarium.

In this consultative seminar participants shared that government is planning to introduce more than 600 RO plants in Tharparkar, but it is

an eye opener that majority of already installed RO plants are non functional.  It was urged that there should be a proper study on water feasibility. It was also discussed that an average 4000-4500 people are victim of snake bite cases, but availability of ASV (anti snake venom) is not ensured yet.

Dr. Khatu Mal, Faqeer Sher Muhammad, Ali Akbar, Arbab Nek Muhammad, Noor Ahmed Janjhi, Muhammad Khan Mari and other civil society activists also participated in the event.