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Food shortage pushing people to leave Kohistan

KARACHI: Twenty-year-old Naseer Aqalani, a resident of Paisu Aaqlani village, seems worried for his ailing cow, which is unable to stand due to weakness. 
The people of Kohistan in Thano Bula Khan (TBK) of Jamshoro district rely mainly on cattle and rain-fed cultivation.
Kirthar Mountains are located in both Sindh and Balochistan provinces. The Kirthar Range forms the boundary between the Lower Indus Plain (east) and southern Balochistan (west).
District Jamshoro is one of the largest districts in Sindh, which is divided in four talukas – Kotri (district HQ), Sehwan Shareef, Majhand and TBK. Population of TBK has a population of 150,000. The World Food Programme (WFP) has declared Jamshoro one of the highly food insecure districts of Sindh.
The ongoing drought in Kohistan has created difficulties for both human beings and their cattle. It has also caused food shortage in the surrounding areas.
“This cow is not ill. It cannot walk because of food deficiency,” said Nasser. “I am afraid she is going to die soon.”
“I have 12 cows and equal size of goats. The herd hardly gets green pastures for grazing,” said Naseer while making an attempt to push his cow to eat dry fodder.
Children were watching keenly the media team, which was interviewing the villagers. The visit was arranged by the Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE). 
“We need jobs. We need education for our kids,” said Naseer, a father of three sons. He is not the only one who is facing the situation. There are many others who cannot plough their fields due to no rainfall.
A few steps away from Naseer’s house, an elderly woman, Zeenat Bibi, was busy in cleaning millet under the open sky. She had no different tale to tell.
“No crops for us. No water for our fields. No machine for us to clean crops,” said Zeenat. 
“We have barrowed this food. We can only make three meals out of this millet,” she added. “We are facing severe food shortage. We cannot leave our lands. Like our forefathers, we will spend whole life and die here.”
“Last year, my pregnant sister-in-law died in front of my eyes as we could not arrange a vehicle to carry her to Hyderabad hospital.”
Paisu Aaqlani, who takes care of a camel herd, said, “It has been four years now as drought hit the area. 2010 was worst for rest of Sindh due to floods, but our area got excessive rains and we ploughed wheat.”
The 2010 floods also damaged wells in the area. Women fetch water from far-flung areas. Because of acute shortage of water, a large-scale migration has been witnessed in the recent months. 
“Due to malnutrition, there has been blood and food deficiency in women and children,” said area elder Abdullah Sheikh.
Thano Bula Khan has one taluka hospital, but it has no surgery facilities. There are six Basic Health Units (BHU) in the area. No female doctor is available in the area. 
“Kohistan depends on rainwater. Facilities should be provided to our people. Jobs should be awarded to the area people of high altitude,” Sheikh demanded.”

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