Published On: Sat, Nov 21st, 2015

At the mercy of high tide

Ammaar Zaidi

THATTA: Although the entire world is under threat from climate change, Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable from its devastating effects. Heat waves, sporadic rains and floods are its outcomes, which the people of Pakistan recognise, but seldom take action against.

The increase in temperature is also causing the sea to rise, affecting the coastal communities and farmers alike. While sea level rise is reducing fish stocks in the ocean, intrusion of saltwater is also turning the agricultural fields infertile. Moreover, coastal settlements are coming under seawater, and people are forced to migrate from their historical villages.

Ramzan, a dweller of the Allah Dino Patel village near Keti Bunder, while pointing towards the area about 35kms from the beach, says a village existed there but over the years, seawater has intruded the land.

“As a result, we were compelled to move here,” he tells The Nature News.

Being a professional fisherman, Ramzan is anxious if seawater exceeds further, he will have to migrate again.

Due to seawater intrusion, he now goes into the deep sea to find his stock. Still, claims Ramzan, he catches small fish, which does not bring him enough cash to feed his family for long.

Being the sole bread earner of an eight-member family, Ramzan says life has become difficult.
“We have to buy freshwater for drinking and other household purposes,” he laments.

Allah Dino Patel village, like many coastal settlements in Sindh, is also deprived of basic necessities such as education, health, sanitation and energy.

Economic conditions do not permit us to send our children to school, he adds. “Women, especially during pregnancy, face extreme pain, and have to travel via ferry to the city. Just transport fares exceed Rs3,000.”

But this is the story of every dweller in this village. Over the years, people started migrating, and now, the population of this rural community has touched its lowest ebb.

This article has been published in arrangement with NCEJ as part of its training in Thatta on “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities.”

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