Pakistan: drought at 'crisis point' : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Monday, 8 May, 2000, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK Balochistan drought at 'crisis point'

By Haroon Rashid in Quetta The authorities in the Pakistani province of Balochistan say most of the province's 26 districts are suffering severe famine as a result of drought.

There is concern that relief efforts are still failing to reach many people trapped in inaccessible areas.

Balochistan's governor, Amirul Mulk Mengal, said the famine situation in 22 provincial districts had reached crisis point.

Mr Mengal said concern was growing for the lives of some 20,000 families and more than a million cattle trapped in inaccessible areas.

However, he insisted that relief operations were being stepped up, and all efforts were being made to bring an end to the crisis.

Balochistan's government is coming under increasing criticism for not doing enough to bring the drought and famine situation under control.


Responding to journalists, Mr Mengal admitted on Monday that the drought situation had first came to light in January this year, but he insisted the government had done its utmost to avert the crisis.

Mr Mengal appealed to the press to refrain from what he described as a politicisation of the crisis, and not to create panic among the public.

The government has set up 35 relief centres in the hardest hit areas to provide relief.

Meanwhile, large numbers of people affected by the drought in the districts of Chagai and Kharan are continuing to migrate towards areas with food and water.

For the moment, though, it seems the government has no intention of appealing for international aid and will continue to pool its own resources for the relief operations.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 08, 2000

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