An aura of helplessness and desperation has been cast over the lives of the otherwise proud people of rural Sindh. A number of relief camps are plagued with fresh water mosquitoes and a malaria epidemic has broken out in many regions, including Badin.
Eid celebrations morphed into funeral rituals as people lost family members along with material possessions. With everything from livelihood to education taking a backseat to survival, the area has reverted back to the Stone Age. At this point, the people’s primary concern is where their next meal will come from and fortunately, NGOs have been able to help them out.
In Kundi, a knockout blow has been dealt to what was one of the largest red chilli providers to Asia. Onions, cotton, rice and sugarcane plantations have also been destroyed. Meanwhile, livestock are dropping like flies. “Most of the animals are either dead or dying,” said Qureshi. “Many people are getting sick every day and if immediate health control is not brought in, the death toll will pass 100.”
“In Badin, one of the worst affected areas, we have set up 40 relief camps that provide cooked food to the people,” explained Anwar Kazmi, a senior official at the Edhi Foundation. “The government has set up 8,000 relief camps in the district and is providing families with food and medicine.”
The Thardeep Rural Development Programme’s (TRDP) main focus is on Diplo. “We have distributed food rations to 1,135 families,” said project manager Gulab Rai. “These rations include three kilogrammes of cooking oil, sugar, daal, spices and salt, 10 kg of rice, and 20 kg of wheat per family.”
Rai told The Express Tribune that about 50 cases of malaria have been reported.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.