A fire that started in a house stoked by a fast wind soon engulfed Odani village of Tharparkar at around 11:30 am on the morning of April 4. Within half an hour nearly 300 homes were burnt down, as the fire was spread by strong winds.

Over 2,000 people lost their homes and around 200 animals including sheep and cows were also burnt.

People lost their documents including CNICs. There is no fire brigade in the area, which hindered timely action and help.

Sindh Rangers were the first ones on the spot travelling from Chachro and started a rescue mission. They initially provided 50 tents, water and dry rations to the village.

People of many casts live in the village, however, the Sangrasi, Dohat, Gunga, Bhutta and Marasi casts suffered the maximum losses.

Asif Dohat a native of the area who is a teacher spoke to The Nation: “Tharparkar has not witnessed such a fire. 276 homes have been completely destroyed including loss of cash and gold. Approximately 3000 maund of ration has also been burnt.”

A marriage was due to be solemnized that day but the fire burnt everything that they family had prepared.

“Haleem a member of the PTI came to the help of the family and gave them Rs 50,000 in cash and some items for dowry. He also gave the community 300 tents,” said Asif Dohat.

About the intervention by the civil administration he said that 500 tents and ration has been provided by MPA Mahesh Malani, who said he would look after the affected people for the next two months. But till now no one has said anything about repair or rebuilding the burnt homes.

He lamented it would be difficult for the affected people to wait for the government’s paper work to rebuild homes.

"After getting tired of waiting they will build their homes on their own.”

Speaking to The Nation, Haleem Adil Sheikh, Senior Vice President Sindh and Member of the Core committee of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said, “Neither the Sindh Government or the district government has responded to this crises. The Rangers took control of the situation, our party is providing shelter and food to the affected.”

About the plight of the people Haleem said, “About 90 percent of the affected are Muslims. The houses in the area are made of mud and straw and now these people are without shelter, clothes and food. They couldn’t save anything apart from their lives. Even their livestock was burnt.”

Criticizing the Sindh and District administration he said, “It was said that the government had provided Thar with mobile hospitals, however, none were seen in this scenario. The government keeps talking about Thar coal, but we saw houses turn into cinder. There is no fire brigade in this area. The people were forced to use their stored drinking water to extinguish the fire, and now they are short of drinking water as well.”

Haleem Sheikh appealed to Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto to sack the DC immediately for his inactivity in the face of this dire calamity.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s representative Haleem Adil Sheikh posted a video on Social Media with a message to criticize the Sindh Government.

MNA Lal Chand Mahi and Minority Chief of Sindh Jay Prakash also visited the locality with the PTI leader Haleem Shaikh.

Yaqoob Bajeer, a local journalist said, “This village has existed for ages. There are about 1,500 homes in this Odani Village, of which around 300 have been burnt down. Fire brigades are not available to extinguish the fire. No one from civil government has come forward despite having been informed.”

On help to the affected he said, “After Pakistan Rangers, only Haleem Shaikh from PTI came to see the conditions and promised to help, but we have yet to see this.”

The Nation tried to get the views of the Sindh Government but no one has responded to the queries so far.

Pakistan People’s Party representative and MPA Dost Muhammad Rahimoon from PS-63 Tharparkar-IV constituency, spoke to The Nation. “The civil administration had reached the site immediately. I am going today to see the intensity of damage and then our next plan of action will be decided.”

Tharparkar is a neglected area in Sindh which has a chronic scarcity of water and electricity. People live in thatched huts made of mud and straw. Every year hundreds of children die of malnutrition, however the Sindh and Federal Government’s hardly pay attention to the crises nor make efforts to resolve these issues despite repeated reminders by the locals and others aware of the situation of the area.