KARACHI- Incharge of Relief Operations in Tharparkar Mr. Taj Haider has said that after a break a full fledged supply of wheat bags has restarted from the depots at Taluka level through alternate arrangements made by the government.

In a statement issued today, the government, Mr. Taj Haider said shall go to every length to ensure that the supply of wheat bags and other items to the remaining families continues at a rapid pace. Giving an overview of the operations he said that more than 200,000 families out of 259,000 deserving families as per lists prepared in 2011 had been already supplied with 50kgs of wheat for each family.

He said, “The rest are being covered by the stocks at hand and those coming in from the fresh harvest. He said that the most far flung areas of the district were being reached through an efficient community based system. This was the first time in history that people were being provided with free wheat and rations on such a large scale. Calculating on the lower side of 5 persons per family 1.3 million people out of 1.6 million were being covered.”  He said that he was aware that the list of the deserving families prepared 3 years back still left out some deserving families. Applications from such families were being collected and these will be looked after when the ones on the existing list have been provided with wheat bags.

Saving children was a top priority. The area is the most underdeveloped area of the country and all problems emanating from extreme poverty exist in the area. Right now doctors are available in the remotest area with ample supply of medicines. Besides, mobile dispensaries and teams of doctors sent in by the government of Khyber Pakhtun Khawa, the Army and other organizations are also in the field. Fortunately because of over 1100 kms of link roads constructed during last 5 years it is now possible to reach the farthest corners of the desert within a couple of hours. Acute patients are being shifted to Hyderabad whenever such a need arises. Nutrition surveys of mothers and children with nutrient supplies are being done in 26 UCs out of 44UC’s with the help of local NGOs. It is hoped that in another 15 days all UC’s will be duly covered.

More than 3 million livestock have been vaccinated uptill now. While camels and cows can feed themselves from tree leaves and bushes, it is the goats and sheep that are most in need of fodder. Thus “Wanda” bags are being provided to families in most effected areas that own less than 10 sheep each. Mr. Taj Haider said that relief was no substitute for development. Thus long term sustainable programs are being developed with the cooperation of NGOs who have remained active in Thar for a long period. It can be rightly hoped that within a couple of years, the income levels, medical care, clean water resources, agriculture, livestock, energy and other sections would be developed to a level where the recurring relief requirements can be minimized.