The people of Thar are facing severe water crisis. The water available through the old wells has become salty and contaminated and considered very dangerous for health requiring immediate attention from the government authorities.

The food items are scarce and that has made the life of poor Tharis miserable under the sizzling hot weather. The recent drinking water crisis in Thar in wake severe drought has opened a new Pandora box of the Sindh Government regarding their tall claims that the situation in Thar has been under control which is tantamount to hiding the grave crisis that prompted several Thari Sindhis to commit suicide and get rid of these challenging situation in which they lost their hopes from all the quarters as they did not have the rains for the last two years that has caused such a large Scale natural calamity .

It is really sluggish on the part of Provincial Disaster Management authority not making any contingency plan for such natural calamity that might have been an eye-opener for the Federal and Provincial Government to take immediate measure for its control.

Though, it was a welcome decision from Sindh Government having declared the emergency in Thar due to the severe drought that has created a serious scarcity of Drinking water and Fodder for the livestock in the Achhro Thar (white Thar) named due to white Sand in Khipro Tehseel of the District Sanghar.

The abysmal living conditions in Achhro Thar mostly located in Khipro Tehseel of District Sanghar warrant to take serious steps so that the drought-hit areas may be given assistance in food as well as Clean drinking water may be provided to help mitigate disaster effects.

The drought has completely destroyed the water quality as it has become poisonous and causing various water born diseases and gobbling precious lives of the People of Thar. Even, in Chhachharo, the Government’s so-called RO plants are not functional these have further aggravated the already worst situation.

It was debated and criticised by the Sindh Assembly members during their session that Federal Government has sent 40000 Tons of Wheat to Afghanistan on goodwill gesture but they have forgotten their Fellow Pakistanis i.e People of Thar to show the same level of goodwill gesture. The members of the Assembly belonging to ruling PPP, criticised the Federal Government’s move and demanded to announce Thar Relief Package so that poor Thari People may have resources needed for their survival.

To some extent, the demand is genuine since the People of Achhro Thar are Pakistani first and then Sindhis within the purview of Sindh Province, but the Federal Government cannot be held responsible for the all this mess and calamity happening due to severe climate Change and negligence.

The Provincial Government must come forward on the emergency basis and help poor Thari People including Men, Women , Children and prevent them from dying of Hunger and Thirst. The Thari people must be helped on the basis of the Humanitarian Grounds and as per the citizenry rights assured by the Constitution of Pakistan.

The UN Agencies such as Unicef, UNFPA, UNDP, WFO and WHO must come forward to help the Provincial Government of Sindh in this natural calamity. The Development Partners and Philanthropists must come forward on the same page devise a comprehensive disaster management policy that may be implemented to prepare the people of Thar against future natural disasters and strengthen their resilience. The Blame game should be and the Federal Government must announce the immediate Relief package for the People of Thar and should work with Provincial Government to help improve the living conditions of the People and make Sustainable living Plans for the People of the area.

There should not be any discussion or argument or debate that whether this disaster is Provincial Subject or Federal Subject but the Debate should be that how to prepare these people for these natural Disasters and build their resilience against such climate Change Happenings.

All the Chief Ministers of Provinces must come on the single page and help each other in times of natural calamities - be it Earth Quake, Rain Flooding or Canal or River Water Flooding or Drought in the desert areas of Sindh, Baluchistan and Punjab where the main source of sustenance is the Livestock. If the Livestock starts dying of hunger and thirst, then how will people of Thar survive in such dismal living conditions.

In this whole saga , the role of National Disaster Management Authority and provincial PDMAs is pivotal since their main purpose of establishment is to create awareness amongst the communities regarding the serious effects of drought and protect the Lives of People and their Properties and their livestock . The NDMA and PDMA Sindh should immediately form a team containing the Experts of Disaster Management for the Damage assessment and recommend the sustainable solutions so that in future the level of damage may be minimised.

It is criminal negligence of NDMA and PDMAs owing to their inactiveness, given the serious drought condition where the drinking water is becoming extinct and the insufficient water taken out from the ancient wells is injurious to health owing to high level of contamination as according to reports of some development Sector organisations that the water samples taken from the Thar Desert contain alarmingly 6000 to 7000 TTC that means that water is just like slow Poison as such a high TTC may cause severe bodily or abdominal complications leading to deaths due to such water contamination.

The Chairman Sindh Water Commission Chief Justice (retd) Amir Hani Muslim has already raised the eyebrows of the Government by presenting the water quality report that 99% of The people of Sindh drink contaminated water and rather compared it with the sewage water, that is really embarrassing and the eye-opener for the people to wake up and raise their voice.

Finally, The Sindh Government must wake up from the deep slumber and immediately establish Thar Welfare Fund or Relief Fund to help our fellow Pakistani brothers who are living under severe conditions.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan must take suo-motto notice of drought in Achhro Thar and pass strict orders to the Federal Government as well as the provincial government of Sindh to help the People of Thar to face this natural calamity with great level of resilience since they have already fought with it all alone but we as Pakistanis should not leave them alone in this hour of Need . Since we are one nation and should feel the pain in any organ of our Federation.

It is really pity for us that though the United Arab Emirates is a desert area it attracts the people around the world and their main economic source is tourism.

Pakistan should develop these Desert areas and establish Purified Artificial Water storages, Schools ,Colleges and Modern Hospitals so that living standards of these calamity challenged people may be improved and Economic activities may be created such as handicrafts and the music industry since Thari people are very skilled in handicrafts and they have great interest in folk music as well.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.