Pir Koh residents up in arms over cholera outbreak, water scarcity



QUETTA: People dep­rived of clean drinking water and facing a cholera outbreak in the Pir Koh gas field area of Dera Bugti district took out a protest rally and staged a sit-in on Saturday.

People took to the roads in droves, carrying banners and placards inscribed with their demands. They chanted slogans against the government and the local administration. They finally staged a sit-in, blocking the road leading towards the gas plant.

Local tribal elders speaking on the occasion said there was an outbreak of cholera due to the absence of clean drinking water in Pir Koh. “We have no other option but to drink contaminated water from the ponds along with the animals,” they said.

People had been protesting for the last two days, but no steps had been taken so far to provide clean drinking water, they lamented, adding that around a dozen, including children, people had lost their lives to cholera so far in Pir Koh tehsil.

However, health officials have confirmed six deaths so far. “Six people, including three young children, died of cholera in Pir Koh,” said Balochistan Health Secretary Mohammad Saleh Nasar.

He said teams of doctors and paramedical staff had reached the affected areas along with required medicines. Besides, a medical camp had been set up by the health department to treat the affected people, he said.

A senior provincial government official told Dawn, “Situation is under control now in Pir Koh as the PDMA [Provincial Disaster Management Authority] and Frontier Corps have sent relief teams to provide the residents with clean drinking water.” He added that ration was also distributed among the people of the area.

Moreover, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo has approved Rs300 million in funds to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to the residents of Pir Koh and Dera Bugti areas.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022



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