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Poverty & SDGs

Children Starving to Death in Pakistan’s Drought-Struck Tharparkar District

MITHI, Pakistan, Jan 16 2015 (IPS) - The main entrance to the Civil Hospital in Mithi, headquarters of the Tharparkar district in Pakistan’s southern Sindh Province, is blocked by a couple of men clad in traditional dress and turbans. They are trying to console a woman who is sobbing so heavily she has to gasp for breath.

She lost her two-year-old son just moments ago and these men, both relations of hers, were the ones to carry the child into the hospital where doctors tried – and failed – to save him.

Just a couple of yards away, a team of paramedics waits for the shell-shocked family to move on. They understand that the mother is in pain, but scenes like this have become a matter of routine for them: for the last two months they have witnessed dozens of people, mostly infants, die from starvation, unable to withstand the fierce drought that continues to grip this region.

The death toll hit 650 at the close of 2014, but continues to rise in the New Year as scant food stocks wither away and cattle belonging to herding communities perish under the blistering sun.

Among the dead are three-week-old Ramesh; four-month-old twin girls named Resham and Razia; and the yet-unnamed sons of a couple who are inconsolable after the passing of their newborn children.

Edited by Kanya D’Almeida

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