CHACHRO/UMERKOT: The current wave of the devastating torrential monsoon rains in Tharparkar district has emerged to be the worst human catastrophe in the desert’s history, rendering hundreds of thousands Tharis displaced and has swept away their livestock.
The rains which set off from August 12, 2011 in lower part of Sindh, extended northward and has now gripped 22 districts of the province, with devastating rains still going on in different parts of the province.
According to initial estimates, the losses in the southern desert district of Sindh runs into billions of rupees and affected Tharis of the district are in dire need of aid: safe drinkning water, safe sanitation facilities, tents, medicines, clothes, feed for their surviving livestock. Women and children are worst hit.
“Miseries of the affected people of the Tharparkar district are bound to multiply further, if they fail to receive aid without further delay,” said Ali Akbar Rahimo, executive director of the Association for Water, Applied Education & Renewable Energy (AWARE).
He told Pakistan Times that two union councils ‘Bhitaro and Kaloi’ of the desert district have been severely hit by the ruinous rains, causing total displacement of the inhabitants, with higher level of mortality among livestock.
“There are 155 villages and 1,03,439 souls worst hit in these two union councils, which suffered economic losses to the tune of Rs3.54 billion.
The union councils, which share border with Badin district, are Tharparkar’s ‘plain and irrigated’ area and contribute a major portion of the district’s overall grain and fodder for livestock, Mr. Rahimo of AWARE pointed out.
Impact of the colossal damage to the recently cultivated fields would have far-reaching, grave impacts for the people and their livestock. For, crisis of fodder and grain shortage looms larger and larger if rehabilitation measures are not launched for the displaced people and livestock of these two union councils, he warned.
According to initial socio-economic survey of rain-cased damages conducted by Association for Water, Applied Education & Renewable Energy (AWARE), total 2,308 cattle heads of worth Rs160 million have perished in these two major union councils of the desert district, break of which is: 1773 goats, 430 sheep, 37 buffalos, 06 cows, 08 camel and 54 donkeys.
Standing crops on some 13,044 acres received damage to the tune of Rs3.52 billion, break of crops losses is: cotton on 7,784 acres, chilly 4,632 acres, sugarcane 250 acres and vegetables on 90 acres, says the AWARE survey.
The survey further highlights that grains stored in houses of the villagers have also been washed away due rain-induced flooding in the areas.
According to estimates collected through the survey, there was 25,800 kg of wheat (worth Rs7,22,400) and millet/bajra grain 12,000 kg (worth Rs3,60,000) which has been rotten/washed away.
The AWARE’s official Ali Akbar Rahimo said that the displaced ailing people and livestock are in grip of killer diseases and urged the government officials concerned to take urgent measures for rehabilitation of the displaced livestock.