Hiding thousands of years of splendid history and culture in its people, Tharparkar is a desert region in Pakistan, but its civilisation is in danger because of the crises it continuous to suffer. The desert, which covers an area of 20,000 square kilometres lies in the Sindh province of Pakistan in southeast Asia and is home to over 1.6 million people. It is also one of the most remote regions in Pakistan with over 80 percent not being accessible by vehicles. Tharparkar is the only fertile desert in the world but it heavily relies on rainfall, but disastrous effects of global warming and continuous government failure have resulted in severe droughts, year after year, causing devastation and death across the whole region.
The plight of the people of Tharparkar is underrepresented in Pakistan and across the world and as a response Crisis Aid has made a pledge to help them. This pledge falls in line with the charity’s mission statement to provide help and support to some of the most remotely placed people across the globe. The initial plan is to seek out the most destitute people in the desert area and provide them with emergency food parcels.
All of the livelihood in Tharparkar revolves around water, an area where on average three people from each household spend between three to five hours a day collecting water, walking around six kilometres. The water available from the sparsely available wells is hard to collect and dirty and more than 80 percent of this water is too salty for human consumption according to the standards of the World Health Organisation. As a result, drinking this water causes chronic diseases in many of the local residents. Crisis Aid plans to help alleviate water concerns by building water wells and water pumps to provide clean and drinkable water in areas not containing salty water.
As the people of Thar depend on fertile land to feed their livestock, droughts force them to migrate from area to area across the desert. Therefore, this causes the people difficulty in accessing amenities like educational and medical facilities. Pakistan has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and this is apparent in the Tharparkar desert. The life of women is the hardest here, especially as they make up the majority of those who are left to collect the water. Carrying heavy pots of water for miles causes unimaginable chronic pain which is exacerbated by poor nutrition and the heat of the desert. These women can then only give birth to weak children, many who succumb early due to malnutrition and disease.
The children of the Tharparkar suffer immensely from the moment they are born. As they get older their remote location and the failure of the Sindh government to look after their welfare results in them being deprived of life’s basic needs like nutritious food and education. Poverty in the families results in children as young as five being forced to work carrying wood and water. Crisis Aid’s future plans for Tharparkar are to address these issues by setting up schools and medical clinics in the most remote areas of the desert.
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