Published On: Sun, Nov 29th, 2015

Climate change: Adaptation, need of the hour for Sindh’s coastal communities

Rashid Ali Panhwer

THATTA, SINDH: As coastal communities of Sindh struggle to strive in their native areas, there is an urgent need to adapt to the changing climate.

Though some are changing profession, a majority of the fishermen not willing to leave their ancestral villages, stick to resource-constraint coastal areas of the province. They are entirely dependent on fishing – the unalienable feature of their life.

Rasheed Ahmed, a waterman in village Allah Dino Patel, Thatta district, says there have been no efforts to save the fishermen from rising sea at Khobar Creek.

Once sweet, sea intrusion in the creek made the water brackish, as well as invaded area land due to high tide.

Unavailability of freshwater is a big problem.

“We receive freshwater only two months a year when its water turns sweet,” Ahmed tells TNN. “For the rest of the year we fetch water from the Sajanwari area of Thatta by pulling underground water with a machine-pump. It costs us a lot.”

The fisherman informs that over the years, people from at least five villages in Thatta have shifted to different locations and have changed their profession.

Fatima, a widow in Allah Dino Patel village says her husband used to catch the fish and they were dependent on fishing but children will not become watermen.

“We pay Rs10 for a pot of drinking water,” she tells the TNN while preparing lunch for her children.

Another villager of the same village, Muhammad Ayub, says his source of livelihood is fishing but climate change has had its toll on fish catch.

“Sufficient freshwater flow in the creek may help us maintain our livelihood,” says Ayub.

But there are organisations working to lessen the affects of climate change.

Though some are changing profession, a majority of the fishermen not willing to leave their ancestral villages

Though some are changing profession, a majority of the fishermen not willing to leave their ancestral villages

Ghulam Rasool Khatri of WWF-Pakistan, says WWF has planted mangroves in some areas, and erected elevated platforms of huts to save the residents from rising sea.
“We made Siddique Dablo as a model village and built 20 elevated platforms there,” he says. “The maximum height of sea tide is 2.5ft. The platforms have been erected up to 4ft.”

Khatri says that the people of other villages are also learning to adapt and making efforts to make their shelters safe.

WWF-P is also guiding villagers to filter seawater to make it drinkable through bio-sand filter units, he adds.

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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