REPORTS in the media during the past few days about a virtual famine in Tharparkar, about a sharp increase in deaths, especially of children due to malnutrition or negligence, and about desperate outward migration of residents have caused justified widespread concern and prompted governmental, judicial, civil and military responses.
While conditions certainly deserve alleviation, the doom-like scenario misrepresents a substantial part of reality.
First: severe adversity affects parts of the population and the region, not the entire area and all residents. Tharparkar is spread over 22,000 square kilometres with a population of about 1.5 million residing in 2,300 villages and urban settlements. Divided into six talukas Mithi, Islamkot, Chachro, Dihly, Diplo and Nagarparkar the area often receives varying levels of rainfall or none at all.