Tharparkar tragedy: 'Negligence, pneumonia and malnutrition main causes of deaths'

Published: March 8, 2014
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Two women from Thar watch as a child cries out. PHOTO: PPI

Two women from Thar watch as a child cries out. PHOTO: PPI

Two women from Thar watch as a child cries out. PHOTO: PPI Negligence and failure of the local administration led to the soaring death toll of children in Tharparkar. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI: After news of the death of 121 children in Tharparkar surfaced in the media, even the government, represented by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah at a press conference on Friday, repeatedly acknowledged the negligence and failure of the local administration.

Shah named “pneumonia” and “malnutrition” as the main causes of the deaths and held the local administration, officials of health and livestock departments and the police responsible for the incident. He also ordered to transfer and suspend around half a dozen officers.

“The lives of these children could have been saved if the doctors and officials of the health department had taken this matter seriously and shifted these children to Hyderabad for timely treatment,” he said, adding that severe cold and the unfair distribution of wheat were also contributing factors in the tragedy. “The government had provided 60,000 gunny bags of wheat for the district, but it was not properly distributed which led to hunger and malnutrition among the children. In this case, I will not succumb to any pressure by elected representatives or leaders of my party to favour any negligent officer.”

He said that the health director, medical superintendent of Mithi Hospital and livestock deputy director have been suspended and an inquiry has been initiated against them. “The deputy commissioner and SSP have also been transferred over their careless performance.” Two committees will be formed to investigate the incident and monitor the distribution of wheat among people. “One committee, under the supervision of Hyderabad DIG Sanaullah Abbasi will look into negligence of the officers and another committee, headed by Taj Haider, will investigate the distribution of wheat,” said the CM.

He pinpointed the illegal cattle markets, saying they were set up by the locals with the help of police personnel who reportedly transported the viral affected animals to Karachi. Shah informed the media that two government employees have been arrested.

Relief and compensation

Nearly Rs420 million, according to the CM, are being spent to deal with the recent tragedy in Tharparkar district.  “We are going to spend Rs10 million on the treatment of ailing children in the district,” he said, adding that Rs0.2 million would be given to each family who has lost a loved one. When asked about the number of deaths, he said that around 41 children died during the last three months. “We are investigating the figure of 121 deaths as quoted by the media,” he said. Even though he admitted that the deaths were a result of negligence, the CM distanced the Pakistan Peoples Party from the tragedy. “Sindh government announces relief packages to overcome drought every year. Relief is provided on our part but the local administration has misappropriated the funds.”

JI, MWM criticise CM  for poor show

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Karachi chief, Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, has demanded that the provincial chief minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, resign over the recent show of bad governance, which resulted in the deaths of innocent children due to famine in Tharparkar.

“As many as 60,000 wheat bags that were slated for distribution in the famine-hit district have been piled up in warehouses while people are dying outside,” said Rehman at Idara-e-Noor Haq. Meanwhile, Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafari, the secretary general of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, has said that the deaths of children due to starvation in Tharparkar district have exposed the claims of good governance by the PPP government. “It is not enough to admit the negligence. Immediate remedial steps should be taken and people expect the chief minister and his cabinet to camp in Tharparkar to ensure practical relief work,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Raheem Bukhsh
    Mar 8, 2014 - 1:14AM

    Oh really……….
    Lame excuses to hide the incompetence. Shame on this numb and senseless party. Poverty and PPP are interlinked coz their stronghold areas can never ever progress. Layari only territory left for PPP is worst area to live in KHI. Interior Sindh is worst in all Pakistan just state of the art Poverty and Crime. People of Punjab have said Good Bye to them now it is the term of Sindh to get rid of this illusion.

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  • Mar 8, 2014 - 1:17AM

    This Shah need to be held accountable for criminal
    negligence. Including the wheat and other food that
    was not delivered to famine victims. This food is
    missing. It disappeared. There were criminals involved.
    With the connivance of the provincial and local Govt.

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  • Ozair
    Mar 8, 2014 - 1:40AM

    Tharparkar Tragedy in Sindh and Johar Town tragedy in Lahore shows us the so called governance of the “experienced” parties.Recommend

  • Safwan
    Mar 8, 2014 - 1:42AM

    PPP has mainly bought misery to this country. Shame on the PPP and shame on its Chairman who instead of being concerned by the basic needs of the people Sindh was more interested in entertaining himself and receiveing the adulation of his croonies by launching a fancy festival. The sooner this party loses any kind of relevance in the Pakistani political landscape, the better it will be.

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  • shah
    Mar 8, 2014 - 2:30AM

    so what are all the NGOs doing in Thar and Sindh? We knew the government was always incompetent, what about holding accountable the many international donors, national and international NGOs that work in these areas and are not able to act to deal with real issues? Who will hold them ever accountable for what they do?

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  • Tribune reader X
    Mar 8, 2014 - 8:21AM

    And where is the greater Tweeter Bilawal and his Billionnaire dad? And where is the MetroBus, laptop giving Sharif family??????????????????????

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  • Imran Ahmed
    Mar 8, 2014 - 11:00AM

    The Sindh government is unequivocally responsible. Ideally its Chief Minister and Food Minister should be sacked, arrested and charged with manslaughter but this will not happen because of the corrupt people we elect to the Provincial assembly.
    The local government if any, department of Food and local MPA should be directed by an empowered and transparent court of enquiry to explain this shameful situation. Prompt and decisive action to prevent such tragedies has to be taken.

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  • Dyeing Humanity
    Mar 8, 2014 - 12:47PM

    Hum nay mana kay taghaful na karo gay laykin
    khak ho ja aingay hum tum ko khabr honay tak

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  • bozo
    Mar 8, 2014 - 1:22PM

    JIYE Bhutto. JIYE Bilawal. Bibi Jinda H. Har ghar se ek Bhutto nkle ga tum kitnae BUTTO maroge. A few deaths of poor and USELESS people should be ignored.

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  • imran ali
    Mar 8, 2014 - 2:24PM

    Sarjeel Memon should resigned…he is elected fro the same area…

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  • Ishrat salim
    Mar 8, 2014 - 5:17PM

    I hv no words to express our shame on such shameful negligence, governance issue and maladministration by a party who claims to get elected by majority from rural areas, yet these areas are ignored…? Kia ye log Allah swt ko Jawab deh nahi…? including their supporters.Recommend

  • Nazeer Ahmed
    Jul 10, 2014 - 8:16AM

    Guys, I think its totally useless to discuss on Pak Govt and their reputation, we all know their efforts behind the development of country, beside that need to remember that government itself is a system and we all are a part of that system too….so the fact is look at yourself 1st if you have comments for someone…be first to do what you can do to make the things better…Time to take the action and and move for WHAT WE CAN DO FOR THEM.

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