Ever Since the news of Famine and Deaths of Children due to malnutrition was broken on News TV Channels as well as in Print Media about extreme Drought in Tharparkar District ,the Government of Sindh seems to be between the Devil and Deep sea and resorted to blame game within the Government and Party by targeting Makhdoom Family and Bureaucracy . The Exchange of hard words between the Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has heralded the secret that how unorganized the PPP is internally! and How inefficient the Government of Sindh is !
The Media has widened the Gap and brought forth the facts that How the vested interests of these politicians are dear to them than those of famine hit children and people of Thar who are dying of malnutrition and hunger . This selfishness and negligence on the part of the rulers of Sindh has created a sense of deprivation among the people of Thar who are left at mercy of bureaucrats who has been entrusted with the responsibility of distribution of the wheat and other food supplements along with providing basic Health facilities to hunger stricken children, presenting the African countries scenario where tears drop like rain while looking at the scenes of starvation ,echoing the voice of the negligence by the elected Democratic Governments of Sindh and Pakistan.
harparkar district is a deserted district where rain water is regarded as the only resource for cultivation and drinking purposes as people store them in small ponds called khohi . There are some wells for water but the water table is so deeper that it makes it almost impossible to take the water out of the wells for daily drinking , food preparation and washing purposes . Tharis pray for rains so that it may grow abundant grass for their livestock as well as for Sowing crops for livelihood .
As per the report of the then Deputy Commissioner of Tharparkar , sent on 17th December 2013 in which he clearly apprised the Sindh Govt regarding the chances of famine like situation due to extreme shortage of Food items on account of lesser rains as compared to normal rain in the monsoon season. Even the Met Office had reported the shortage of Rainfall. Ironically ,Both Report were not taken seriously and apparently the ghost of drought came out of the bottle and engulfed the whole District .
As a result ,more than 200 Children including men and women lost their lives in quest of seeking food but deprived of their due right by the Government and local bureaucracy by not providing them with the wheat they had in food storage. They preferred to feed pests than distributing it among the people. The innocent children aged between 2 to 10 years as well as grownups left struggling for their life to get a morsel of meal due to corrupt and lethargic government who had turned a deaf ear towards them , leaving them die of hunger .
This extreme negligence made us put our heads down in shame in a province which is rich in natural resources but paralyzed in service delivery. Instead of quitting the Government , the Chief Minister and Information Minister were addressing press conference with jolly mood and admitted the negligence that it had been caused owing to their massive negligence . Their confession in such a manner , in the presence of Media, was a slap on the faces of residents of Sindh and equivalent to putting salt on the wounds of suffering tharis whose shoulders were taking the dead bodies of affected children who had not even seen the world ,went in the cruel hands of death and slept in the eternal sleep with the kindness of lethargic and inefficient Sindh Government who were awakened by the media and sue motto notice by the Apex Court after the Letter of Former Chief Justice to Sitting Chief Justice of Pakistan his Excellency Tasaduq Jillani for taking notice of casualties as result of Famine and Drought .
The said press conference had yet another controversial statement which was really blood boiling and embarrassing when they were blaming Media of creating hype regarding the situation and presenting exaggerated Figures. They termed the facts and figures as overstated, unauthentic and false. The Media was the first one to unfold this misery and miserable condition of the Children clamoring for food. Instead of thanking them, they blamed media of misrepresentation of facts and figures. Where as Chief Justice while hearing the sue motto case said that if the media had not reported the situation , the death toll might have crossed thousands and we had not been aware about the situation . He also questioned the report made by health department that the said deaths were caused due to pneumonia.
ime Minister of Pakistan also took notice of the malnutrition and famine in Thar and directed the Officers and Ministers to visit the famine hit areas of Thar and provide relief to the People of Pakistan in the hour of their need . He also made exemplary statement in presence of Chief Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by refusing food by saying that the people of my homeland are dying of hunger and you are spending money lavishly upon my fest . This was enough for the lethargic and inefficient Government of Sindh who left their people on the mercy of death and let them die of hunger due to their carelessness .
The Prime Minister announced One Billion aid package and also directed the NDMA for Assessment and taking initiative for the relief of the people . The initiatives taken by the worthy PM are appreciable and timely. Because by these initiatives, the precious lives of innocent children may be saved from malnutrition and hunger. The Sindh Government only announced 10 Crore initially and two Lac each for each affected family. On the other hand, the Real Estate Business Tycoon, Malik Riaz might have won the hearts of the poor tharis by announcing 20 Crore for the relief of the children and people, and 5 Lac each for the families whose children had died of famine . Comparing the aid package of the Sindh Government , it appears that it may be lesser amount to meet the ever growing needs of the famine hit Tharparkar since such a meager amount was insufficient for the people who are facing hardships due to acute shortage of Drinking water and wheat to feed their bellies and poor children .
Bravo! to Army Chief Raheel Sharif who immediately ordered the corps Commander Sindh to visit Thar to provide Relief and Health facilities to the ailing children and provide food to the families . The army has, on number of occasions , helped their suffering countrymen in disasters: be it rain , Floods or Famine like situation besides guarding the frontiers of the Country , letting us have a peaceful sleep at night . The Army Medical Core is helping tharis in treatment of their children and army personnel are providing the food items at the same time with the utmost spirit of Service to nation in the hour of their need .
On the one hand, PPP Leadership is at loggerheads and blaming each other for failure to provide timely help , bad Governance and Policy Making , on the Other hand, each day saddens the people of Pakistan particularly those of Sindh with death news of Children in the areas of Chhachhro , Nangar Parker , Mithi , Diplo ,Islamkot ,Dahli and other areas which are severely hit by worst famine and people are compelled to move to the areas of where abundant water and food items are available . The Food scarcity situation has hit the livestock and the beauty of Thar the Peacocks as well which are dying of hunger along with Cattle . So far ,the aid is also limited to urban areas as rural areas yet to get the aid package that is why the famine is causing more Deaths of Children each passing day .
In this situation , the elected legislators of Sindh have never turned back to get the first hand information of the difficulties and Needs of Tharparkar . If their problems have been solved before, No such situation may have appeared or somewhat would have been less aggravated and alarming as it is now days. You cannot blame only the local civil servants of negligence but the resignations be demanded from all the legislators who hail from Tharparkar who had not spent a penny in their constituencies for development and improvement of infrastructure along with the ministers of , Revenue , food , relief, finance and Health , the Secretaries and Chief Executive of Province , the Chief Minster to resign from their positions as they have completely failed their duties . The Cases of deaths of the children registered against those who are responsible for alarming situation now a days . At the same time , Government should immediately requisition National as well as PA Session to discuss this tragedy and initiate high level inquiries against those whose negligence caused the loss of precious lives of Children at behest of inefficient and careless Government.
reover , a national level emergency meeting may be called to discuss the possible , quick and lasting solution for the Famine in Thar by taking Federal as well as Provincial Governments on board and engaging WFP , WHO , UNICEF and other Donors and Development organizations of International and National origin to initiate relief work and monitor the aid distribution and provision of modern health facilities by upgrading the DHQs and THQs as well as RHC’s ,BHU’s and GD’s . Had the decision of handing over the BHU’s to PPHI by Sindh Government taken earlier , the maximum number of lives innocent Children might have saved and the suffering community may have been provided with the Primary Health services in their villages and towns. The INGO’s , NGO’s along with UN agencies and government functionaries must join hands to identify the most affected areas and start the aid work in those areas so that the maximum number of lives could be saved from falling prey to deaths due to severe famine which has already engulfed Coal rich Tharparkar and a sustainable policy of Development be made to avert future Disasters and famine like situation in Thar as well as other drought hit areas of the country .
A research and Development think tank namely Institute of Disaster management and Food Security be established with the task to prepare research studies and reports on the possible disasters and nutrition related studies. In this way , an organized emergency relief work could be materialized on the recommendations and research studies for lasting solutions to climate changes and natural disasters .
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