a. Drought has greater impact, as compared to other major disasters as the later are mostly of short duration and geographically limited, while drought, by contrast, affects large geographical areas for considerable period of time. The frequency and severity of drought have increased in our country in recent years due to a combination of increasing temperatures, increasing events of El Nino and a reduction in the number of rainy days. A significant increase in the frequency of heat waves, an indicator of forthcoming drought, has been reported.
b. A major drought situation tends to visit the country in 16-20 year cycles and the lesser impact version, every 3-4 years in the south. The 1999-2002 drought is considered to be one of the worst, it impacted 58 districts, affecting over 3 million population and causing loss of 2.5 million livestock.
This drought caused direct and indirect losses of US$1.2 billion to the national economy.
c. The climate change phenomenon is responsible for current onset of the drought conditions since late 2013, across Southern and Eastern parts of Sindh, Southern Punjab and most of arid Balochistan. Below average / less rainfall during the monsoon season 2018 particularly in Sindh Province (desert areas) resulted in acute shortage of water, food and fodder. The intensity and frequency of such phenomenon is likely to increase. This alarming situation warrants quick and effective measures and concentrated interventions.
d. Drought Condition in District of Sindh 2018/19. The districts of Sukkur, Khairpur, Sanghar, Umerkot, Badin, Tharparkar, Kachho & Kohistan areas of Districts Thatta, Jamshoro and Dadu are frequently hit by drought. Less than anticipated rains during this monsoon season has worsened the situation in the above districts. The Deputy Commissioners of the above districts have reported that grass grown up in natural pastures/grazing areas and crops or seedling sown has dried up and requested to Relief Department to declare affected Dehs as Calamity Affected Areas in terms of Section 3 & 4 of Sindh National Calamities (Prevention & Relief) Act, 1958 and provide relief package to the affectees for 3 months period.
e. Accordingly, the Provincial Cabinet in a meeting held on 20th August, 2018 constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of the Senior Member/Relief Commissioner, Sindh alongwith Secretaries of the relevant provincial Departments and concerned Commissioners. The Committee recommended effective and transparent relief measures. The Committee also convened meetings with district line departments and Civil Society Organizations on 21st, 24th and 25th August, 2018 at District Headquarters of Tharparkar and Umerkot and conducted field visits of drought affected areas for on-ground assessment. Subsequently the Chief Minister Sindh ordered on 28.8.2018 that before launching of a relief campaign following action be taken:- i. List of concerned beneficiaries (Head of Families) may be sought from the NADRA through PDMA in respect of Dehs / areas recommended by Deputy Commissioner.
ii. Wheat may be distributed amongst house hold of affected Dehs from the safe & secure “Sentinel Points” the number and site of which will be determined and supervised by the concerned Deputy Commissioners.
f. Accordingly DG PDMA requested NADRA and NDMA to provide lists of head of families in 513 x Drought Hit Dehs in 8 x districts of Sindh. The NADRA furnished details of head of 420,946 x families in the pre-identified/affected Dehs. District-wise details are at Annexure- I.
g. Subsequently, Chief Minister, Sindh declared affected areas / Dehs of above mentioned districts as “Calamity Affected Areas”.
h. In compliance of the orders of Chief Minister Sindh, the distribution of free wheat started from 24.09.2018. Till 30.10.2018, 227,661 families have received free wheat of 50 K.G each. District-wise details are at Annexure-II. Whereas process for distribution of free wheat to remaining 193,285 families is ongoing.
i. Apart from above Chief Minister also approved distribution of 149,710 Ration bags purchased from Canteen Store Department (CSD) containing 30 Kilograms of food items alongwith 4 Nos. of Antibacterial Soap for distribution for distribution to PDMA Sindh amongst 49,910 pregnant and lactating women of district Tharparkar and Umerkot for three months to cover their nutritive problems. The total cost of 149,710 Rations bags comes to Rs. 369.833 million. Details of food/hygiene items of Ration bags and District wise details of pregnant/lactating women are at Annexure-III.
j. In addition to above, The Government of Sindh has requested State Bank of Pakistan to issue necessary instruction to the schedule and micro financing banks to postponed, reschedule the installment of outstanding loans/interest in the drought affected Dehs declared as calamity affected areas particularly district Tharparkar to ease the miserable life of people