Thu, Mar 23, 2017 | updated 11:50 PM IST

Pakistan's Tharparkar region facing major human catastrophe

Updated: Aug 10, 2016 13:09 IST

Karachi, Aug.10 (ANI): More than 1,500 children under the age of five have died in the Tharparkar district of Pakistan's Sindh province since 2011, and as per reports, incidents of such deaths continue despite the provincial government announcing emergency plans to stop this trend in this vast 20,000 square kilometer district.

According to an Al Jazeera report, poverty, population growth, lack of clean drinking water, unemployment and high illiteracy rates have seemingly trapped the region in a state of catastrophe.

Doctors have blamed malnutrition as the common cause of infant mortality in the Tharparkar district, but have failed to diagnose the underlying issue leading to this dismal state of affairs.

Some have blamed the government for being both blind and deaf to the cries of despair.

Tharparkar district comprises around 2,300 registered villages and an estimated 2,000 unregistered ones. Eighty percent of it is rural and inaccessible by most of the vehicles that the government has sanctioned for medical assistance.

The infant mortality figure is based on children dying in five government hospitals, including Civil Hospital Mithi, the sole district hospital serving 1.5 million people. Here, the wards are overflowing, families are camped in the courtyard and staff are overworked and underpaid.

There is no official record of deaths taking place outside these five locations.

What is even more shocking to know is the fact that there are just six paediatricians and five gynaecologists to deal with half-a-million children and their mothers in this district.

Around 300 to 400 children are admitted to the hospital each month, and around 15 to 20 percent of them die.

The Sindh government recently announced the opening of new dispensaries and the appointment of additional staff. The existing infrastructure lies abandoned, with a staff of 598 health workers unpaid for over 11 months.

The government's immediate response has also been to distribute bags of wheat among the locals. But what happens in the weeks and months after this, no one knows.

A recent UN-funded survey found 90 percent of Thari women to be underweight, with a mean weight of 44.2kg. Almost 93 percent of households do not have any food-buying powers, surviving mostly on seasonal harvests that are monsoon-dependent and the sale of livestock.

The majority of Tharparkar's residents have no access to clean drinking water. There are no water pipelines going deep into the villages. Wells have been dug up by the government, NGOs, social workers and by villagers themselves, but a lack of rainfall and inadequate maintenance mean they have either dried up or their contents are unsafe for human consumption. Still, most residents have no choice but to consume it.

Reverse osmosis water plants, which run on solar power, have been set up in the region. Residents flock to them multiple times a day, braving the heat, exhaustion and long journeys.

Tharpakar received its first batch of monsoon rains in June followed by another set this week. It may temporarily help wash away some of the Tharis' suffering. (ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], Mar. 23 (ANI): After the Pakistani delegation at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) interrupted the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) representatives to speak on the issue of gross human rights violation with the Balochi people due to the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, the international community on Thursday sidelined the former's request and asked the representatives to complete their statement.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 23 (ANI): The U.S. Seismological Centre on Thursday measured the earthquake at 4.2 Richter Scale at a depth of 180 kilometre in Swat and surrounding areas of Pakistan.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [U.S.], Mar. 23 (ANI): The U.S. State Department is set to approve the Keystone XL pipeline by Monday, reversing the Obama administration's decision to block the controversial oil pipeline.

Full Story >>

Burj Khalifa lit up with Pakistan's flag

Updated: Mar 23, 2017 22:10 IST

Dubai [UAE], Mar. 23 (ANI): Dubai's Burj Khalifa was lit up with the colours of Pakistani national flag on Thursday evening.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [U.S.], Mar. 23 (ANI): The man believed to have been responsible for the terrorist attack in Westminster has been identified as 52-year-old Khalid Masood.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [U.S.], Mar. 23 (ANI): U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday condoled the family of an American killed in a London terrorist attack.

Full Story >>

Antwerp [Belgium], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Belgium Police on Thursday arrested a man after he tried to drive into a crowd at high speed in a shopping area of Antwerp, Belgium.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has decided to provide Sindh with additional supply of around 4,000 to 5,000 cusecs of water, Dawn News reported on Thursday.

Full Story >>

Israel [Jerusalem], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Israel Police on Thursday arrested a Jewish teenager in connection with a series of bomb threats that have rattled Jewish institutions and community centers across the U.S. and other countries.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has reminded prospective passengers that it remains unaffected by a recent ban on passengers carrying electronic items on U.S. and UK-bound flights.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Westminster attack that claimed the lives of four and injured 40 others.

Full Story >>

Beijing [China], Mar. 23 (ANI): Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday sent a message of condolences to British Prime Minister Theresa May over a deadly terrorist attack in London that killed four people and injured 40 others.

Full Story >>

Kiev (Ukraine), Mar. 23 (ANI): Police chief Andriy Grishchenko on Thursday said that former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov may have been the person reportedly shot and killed in central Kiev.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 23 (ANI): Pakistan had on Wednesday urged India to immediately release separatist Kashmiri leaders under house arrest alleging that this move was aimed at preventing them from attending the Pakistan Day celebration today at the High Commission in New Delhi.

Full Story >>

London attack: Police confirms seven arrests

Updated: Mar 23, 2017 14:09 IST

London [UK], Mar. 23 (ANI): Acting Deputy Commissioner at the Met Mark Rowley has confirmed that seven people have been arrested from Birmingham and elsewhere in connection with Wednesday's violence.

Full Story >>

Kabul [Afghanistan], Mar. 23 (ANI): A local police officer killed nine of his colleagues at a check post in northern Kunduz province late on Wednesday night.

Full Story >>

Dhaka [Bangladesh], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Bangladesh Supreme Court has scrapped a High Court order that stayed the trial proceedings of Niko graft case against former prime minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia, thereby clearing the way for continuing trial proceedings in the case.

Full Story >>

Washington D. C. [USA], Mar. 23 (ANI): The Chinese officials warned a US military aircraft flying near South Korea on Sunday during routine operations in international airspace.

Full Story >>

Kathmandu [Nepal], Mar. 23 (ANI): Nepalese Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat has said that no pacts or MoUs will be signed with Beijing during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's visit to China starting today.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 23 (ANI): On the occasion of Pakistan Day, President Mamnoon Hussain said in his address that Islamabad is ready for dialogue with India over the Kashmir issue.

Full Story >>