Devastated by cyclone and floods, Thatta faces acute water scarcity


KARACHI – Either it’s the tropical cyclone emerging from Arabian Sea or floods from the River Indus, Thatta is perhaps the most vulnerable city of Sindh. Thousands were displaced from their homes after the floodwater swept Thatta; in the aftermath of the floods, acute water shortage has gripped this backward district of Pakistan.
The situation is such that in many areas of the district, people have been forced to consume contaminated water and inevitably fall sick. Many do not even water to bathe dead bodies. It is not for the first time that this deltaic district is suffering from water shortage due to reduced water flow in downstream Kotri.
But this time the situation has become so acute that locals fear that many will start dying this summer due to water scarcity. In view of the gravity of the situation, hundreds of people took to the streets in different parts of Thatta city on the eve of World Water Day.
The rally – led by renowned environmentalist Tanveer Arif and social activists Mahjabeen Khan and Shafi Jatt – attracted a large number of protestors, including women. Carrying banners and placards, the protesters marched at various thoroughfares and raised the slogans of “give us water, save the Indus delta,” “release downstream water”, and “rehabilitate flood affected families.”
Speaking at the occasion, Taveer Arif of SCOPE said that Sindh is not being given its due share of water, and water is not released at Kotri downstream. As a result, the Indus delta and mangroves have reached the verge of extinction, he said, adding that the survival of thousands of people, flora and fauna is linked tied to the River Indus.
Arif said that due to climate changes, we cannot stop disasters, but can minimize the damage they inflict by rehabilitating the Indus delta. He called upon the authorities concerned to expedite the pace of work on the repair of dykes, claiming that substandard work on dykes will not be tolerated.
Environmentalist and intellectual Bharumal Amrani said that the Indus delta is 356 km long and stretches over an area of 600,000 hectares between Karachi and south-western border of India. He said that it consisted of creeks, extensive mud flats, sand dunes, salt marshes and indigenous trees such as salsola foetida (lani), tamarix dioca (lai), mangroves and other flora and fauna.
The River Indus’ water shed area is about 1 million square kilometres, and when huge silt carried by rivers flows into the sea, some part of it is deposited in the river and increased the delta. He urged the authorities to take appropriate measures for rehabilitation of flora and fauna damaged and disturbed during recent floods.
Shafi Jatt, a man belonging to a village situated near the tail of the Indus,