ACT Alliance Alert: Pakistan Droughts (14 September 2018)
The absence of significant rainfall in the last two to three seasons have triggered drought emergency in the southern part of Sindh Province in Pakistan. As per Sindh drought assessment conducted by FAO and EU in 2017, 100% of the area of Tharparkar was facing severe water scarcity. The district of Umerkot was facing severe water scarcity in 83.8% of it’s area and moderate water scarcity in the other 16.2%.
As of 2018, the situation has become worse due to continuing lack of rainfall in the monsoon season. The national average for rainfall has been -24.4% below average with the Sindh region suffering most, receiving rainfall -69.5% below average. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), most of the districts in the province did not receive any rainfall in the month of August. This situation is leading to adverse effects on agricultural and domestic needs of the local communities in the area, further exacerbating the prevalent problems of poverty and child malnutrition. In the district of Tharparkar alone, nine infants have been reported dead during the month of August, while a total of 375 children have died due to malnutrition in 2018. Due protracted low crop production, the food insecurity and malnutrition issue has further worsened as families are forced to sell the goods that they otherwise would have consumed themselves. Access to clean water has also severely been limited, causing water-borne diseases and compromising the health of the residents. The PMD has predicted no adequate rainfall in the near future meaning that the situation will only worsen with diminishing resources. Crop production will continue to drop while the death of livestock will rise. The health of the community will continue to suffer more as the water and food supplies decline. Analysing the current situation, the district administration has appealed to international and local aid organizations to send their teams and support the government in its efforts to provide relief to the affected people.