Tharparkar: Two more children died of malnutrition in Tharparkar, where the ongoing drought has reportedly claimed many lives.
A private TV channel on Sunday reported that the death toll in the area in the last three months reached 238, with the majority of the victims being children.
Residents of the area continue to leave while several locals protested against the delay in relief activities in most rural areas of the district.
With the rise in temperature, scores of residents of various villages of Thar, including children and women, are suffering from malaria, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, TB and other diseases.
Meanwhile, Bahria Town, Al Khidmat Foundation, Falah-e-Insaniyat and other organisations are busy with relief activities in different areas of Tharparkar district.
The desert region in Tharparkar, one of Pakistan’s poorest districts, spreads over nearly 20,000 square kilometres in the country’s south east and is home to some 1.3 million people.
Between March 2013 and February this year, rainfall was 30 per cent below the usual, according to government data, with the worst-hit towns of Diplo, Chacro and Islamkot left dry for months.
Life in the desert is closely tied to rain-dependent crops and animals, with farmers relying on beans, wheat, and sesame seeds for survival, bartering the surplus in exchange for livestock.
The drought is not the only reason for the recent deaths — observers say they have come about as a result of endemic poverty, exacerbated by the drought and an outbreak of disease killing livestock.
Authorities have been busy dispensing food aid and sending medics to attend to the sick following visits by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who leads the Pakistan People’s Party, which rules the province.
But observers say the relief work fails to address the root causes of such disasters and warn they are likely to be repeated.