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WATER DEPRIVED COMMUNITIES OF PAKISTAN

The “Land of the Pure” as they really called it, had the blessings of Eutychia and Pluto upon it. That is why the “Golden Sparrow” of the region used to face invasions by the huge armies from lands far away. The greatest of all the warriors made strategies to conquer the region just to rule over the mighty water-ways that irrigated the lush green agricultural plains of the Indus Valley. The Indus Valley Civilization had the mighty river Indus River at its heart, the tributaries spreading all over the land and the God of Water, Potamai was merciful upon them. The natives used to plant crops and irrigated them with the water. They used the river waters for their everyday chores.

Far-off tribes were attracted towards the “Land of the Gold’, and came to settle here. Gradually, the population began to increase and the world began to develop. The waste from factories and industries was dumped into the poor Indus, the father of all the water bodies. The tribes who once settled near the banks had now contributed towards the formation of metropolitan cities, where people were busy competing with one another for a better life. No one ever noticed the tap water, the poor oldie (Indus) being polluted by the industries, factories, domestic dump and animal waste. While competing for a better future they unknowingly destroyed their future, the future of coming generations and the life of mother earth.

And here we come to the present stage where the rivers, wells and bores have all dried out. The glorious Indus which was once known for its might has now lost its youthfulness and is on the verge of being expired. The lush green irrigated fields of the valley have now turned into deserts. The villages which turned into towns and the towns into cities and the cities to metropolitans are now under the water crisis.

One of the biggest cities of the region Karachi has all its taps dried out. There is no availability of safe drinking water in a city of fifteen million covering the area of one seventy-eight square kilometres. This city is the hub of all the economic activities of the country but struggling its way out of the water crisis is the biggest challenge faced by it. The natives usually buy water from water companies or from the filters installed by the government in different localities. There has always been a fixed timing in the mornings and at nights, at which water is supplied. Women and children have to wait in queues to fill just a pail of water. This tiny amount is used by them for all the household chores, in food and for drinking.

Moreover, the water sometimes is so unhygienic that has lead towards an increase of the waterborne diseases in the city. Deadly diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and hepatitis are causing the people to travel towards the notorious valley of death.

Quite similar conditions prevail in the rural areas in the south of the country. The areas of the interior Sindh and Balochistan have been struggling with droughts for a couple of years.

The Thar desert has been facing famine for many years. Severe adversity is affecting the population and the region itself. Tharparkar is spread over 22,000 square kilometres with a population of about 1.5 million residing in 2300 village settlements. Divided into six talukas- Mithi, Chachro, Dihly, Islamkot, Diplo and Nagarparkar, the area often receives varying levels of rainfall or none at all causing dryness to prevail throughout the region. The crops have all dried out leading the women and children to die in hospitals out of malnutrition.

The residents, crops and animals are all facing the adverse effects of this water crisis. The crops have all dried out, the animals are dying out due to the shortage of food and water. Therefore, the residents are forced to migrate from their village in search of jobs, leaving the elderly to starve to death during the months of severe droughts. Moreover, they have to sell all of their belongings and livestock as well to gain money. The condition is so severe that some of them have now started killing their livestock as a source of food.

The sun shining brightly like a heated metal disc over the rust sand dunes and the barren-cracked earth clearly recite the tale of this land which is struggling its way out of the dark era of famine and drought.

By:  Minnaa Ahmad

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