THARPARKAR - A newborn died of malnutrition in Mithi's Civil Hospital on Sunday, raising the death toll from drought to 39 for October and November as the Sindh government continues to ignore the plight of the residents of Tharparkar district.

At least 116 people, including 32 children, have died in the last four months due to famine caused by no rain in the region.

Two other drought-affected children, reportedly in critical condition, were also moved to Hyderabad for medical treatment.

Despite the growing number of deaths, the provincial authorities have failed to take steps to address the issue. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had recently claimed that not a single death of a child occurred owing to hunger or medical negligence in Tharparkar district. He said he would tender an apology if his statement was disproved.

On the other hand, Deputy Commissioner Tharparkar, Muhammad Asif Jameel said that in the 4th phase of wheat distribution in Thar, the commodity will be distributed among 253,580 drought-hit families. Earlier, the government distributed wheat free of cost among drought victims in three phases, he said. He further said that the district administration received 379,981wheat bags of 100 kg each.

This stock of wheat would be distributed among victims in three phases, he said. In the next phase, as many as 26,790 wheat bags would be distributed there, he added. Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Livestock, Jam Khan Shoro suspended 10 employees of his Department who were found absent from their duties despite a drought-like situation in the district.

The action was taken by the Minister during a meeting held with officials of Livestock Department at Chhachhro on Sunday to review the situation of drought and services being provided to the victims.

Suspended Livestock Assistants were residents of other districts than Tharparkar who remained absent from duty since their appointment there.

Earlier, the minister had issued show cause notices to 30 other employees who were found absent from duty.

Later, 20 of the absent employees resumed their duties while 10 employees never turned up for their duties.