Published On: Sat, Sep 19th, 2015

Waiting for a raindrop

Shaukat Korai


Rano Singh Rathore, an elder peasant of Tharparkar, could foresee the drought even after the heavy rains – a situation he is witnessing for the first time in his lifetime. Although Rano, who is a resident of Haryar village near district headquarters Mithi, is unaware of the factors behind the emerging situation, he could observe the developments.

In Pakistan, while in the north glaciers are melting, Sindh has witnessed a rise in temperatures and water scarcity.

In Thar Desert, due to climate change, rain has become rare, thus causing drought. The area has witnessed severe infant mortality, while numbers of bird and livestock have also been minimised.
During the on-going year, heat wave in Karachi caused deaths of more than a thousand people. Similarly, in Tharparkar, hundreds of child mortality cases were reported. This was primarily because of malnutrition – food-deficient mothers gave births to weak, premature babies who died within few days of their births.

According to Chief Executive Officer of Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) Tanveer Arif, the way climate change is affecting Pakistan; there would be severe distresses in the coming days. Yet the people, as well as the governments seem to be negligent.

Meteorologist Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry says Pakistan’s desert areas have become more vulnerable and affected from greenhouse gasses, resulting in frequent droughts.

“No water means no greenery, and hence no agriculture; ultimately affecting the food supply.”
“Lack of rain and scarcity of water has forced a number of families to migrate and this is happening for the last three years,” says resident Khait Singh. He is anxious that if the situation prevails for the next year, there would be no agriculture.

Out of the estimated 1.6 million population in Tharparkar, about 40 percent migrates to nearby barrage areas during droughts to work as labourers.

“Mostly they go to Badin, Thatta, Hyderabad and other adjoining areas,” says senior manager of WWF Shehzadi Tunio.

For solutions, expert Tanveer Arif says a comprehensive policy at federal, provincial and local level needs to be devised to combat and minimise the effects of climate change.

“There is a dire need to increase greenery, tree plantation and imposing a ban on cutting of trees.”

This article has been published in arrangement with NCEJ as part of its training “Reporting Impacts of climate change on Communities”

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