KARACHI - Following the suo moto notice taken by the Supreme Court and increasing criticism from all sections of society on deaths of more than 100 children in Thar allegedly due to malnutrition, the Sindh government of PPP has finally come out of slumber.
It has sent the wheat stock and medical teams to provide the relief to drought affected people in Thar, a desert area of the province. Moreover, Mirpurkhas Commissioner, Health DG, Livestock director, and Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent Police (SSP)of Tharparkar district have been removed from their postings for their ‘negligence’. But, no action has been taken against any political figure.
So far, the local media and NGOs working in the area reported that 125 children have died so far primarily because of malnutrition in the calamity hit area, which solely depends on rainwater for drinking as well as irrigation purposes. But, government functionaries have contradicted the death numbers, claiming that 43 kids so far have died, and that too mainly because of pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan while already taking suo moto notice of deaths of children and provincial government’s inaction in helping the people has summoned the chief secretary of province and the advocate general tomorrow (Monday) to clarify government’s position and inform about the steps taken to save the drought affected people of Thar.
The Sindh government has started preparing its case to present in the Supreme Court. The proposed position to be taken by the provincial government would be the steps including action taken against the local administration for their negligence as well as relief efforts being made of late by the government with sending of the medical teams and dispatching of free of cost wheat stocks for the affected.
Chief Minister Qaim Ali has also summoned a high level meeting of all officers of provincial departments today (Sunday) in Tharparkar’s district headquarter Mithi to review and expedite the relief operations in the drought affected people. Thar Relief and Rehabilitation Cell has also been established at Chief Minister House, which will work round the clock to monitor the issues related to ongoing relief work in Tharparkar.
PPP Sindh Chapter General Secretary Taj Haider, who has been nominated by CM Qaim Ali Shah to supervise the relief activities in Tharparkar district, claimed that none of the children admitted in the Mithi hospital was suffering from malnutrition, adding they were suffering from pneumonia, meningitis and diarrhea.
However, he did admit that general malnutrition among the children in the area did affect their immunity to such diseases.
PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also claimed on social media that children in Mithi hospital were not victims of malnutrition and that all the deaths among children came from pneumonia, meningitis and Diarrhea.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon contradicted the reports of rejecting the aid offer of Punjab government to provide help to the Thar people, saying that Punjab government did not made any offer for assistance at all. Sindh government’s official mouthpiece thanked the federal government for its aid offer and Pak Army’s relief operation in Thar.
Taj Haider in his report claimed that huge stock of qualitative wheat has been made available by Sindh government and the work for supplying wheat and provision of free of cost health facilities to the famine victims have been started. The ruling party leader said at least eight mobiles medical teams were already working in the field and as many more doctors were being sent by SIUT chief Dr Adeebul Hassan Rizvi from Karachi, besides the doctors sent by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) to provide prompt medical treatment to the needy patients in Thar.
The Sindh government has decided to establish Medical Camp at each Taluka Hospital of Tharparkar for which doctors and Paramedics from Provincial Health Department were dispatched to the affected areas, besides sending out of medicines, nutrition supplements and incubators, he claimed. He said that full medial cover is being provided to all the patients admitted in the district hospital Mithi.
PPP government claimed that 15 veterinary mobile vaccination teams of Livestock Department and 8 veterinary doctors from NGO TharDeep are operating in drought affected areas, attending 50,000 animals per day, besides 500,000 more vaccine vials have been called which would reach Mithi by next Friday. Besides, many truck loads of fodder are being distributed in the affected areas.