Pakistan's Balochistan province is reeling under a massive cholera outbreak as 85 per cent of the population is deprived of clean drinking water.
The cholera outbreak has killed about six people including women and children in southeastern tehsil, Pirkoh in the Dera Bugti area within the past week, who died, hours after getting infected, reported Greek City Times.
According to the provincial health department, ever since the first case of cholera emerged in Balochistan, on April 17, 2,856 cases and six deaths have been reported. More than a dozen people have been rushed to a hospital owing to their deteriorated condition.
Taking to Twitter, Senator of the Dera Bugti area, Sarfraz Bugti said that 20 people, including children, died owing to the spiralling cholera epidemic, reported Greek City Times. He even urged the Chief Minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo to provide assistance to the afflicted people.
"20 died including children due to the cholera epidemic spiralling out of control in Pir Koh, #DeraBugti CM @AQuddusBizenjo is urgently requested to take stock of the situation and immediately lend assistance to the afflicted. People are suffering and protesting but no one cares!" he tweeted.
As per Dera Bugti residents, insufficient clean drinking water in the area has forced the residents to drink dirty water which has resulted in the outbreak. Dera Bugti district health officer Muhammad Azam Bugti said that the local people and animals drink water from the same pond which has become a primary cause of the epidemic.
"Over 85 per cent of Balochistan's population is deprived of clean drinking water," said the district health officer. "This at a time when billions of rupees are being allocated every year for water supply schemes in the province," he added.
Sweltering heat, accompanied by a dearth of rainfall has left the people with zero alternatives, Greek City Times.
The mountainous region of Pirkoh has been declared a health emergency. Further, Bizenjo has even directed the public health department to supply water to Pikroh through water tanks on a daily basis. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered emergency relief measures as well, reported Greek City Times.
Protests were held in Quetta, along with other parts of Dera Bugti to demand the government on providing clean drinking water on a priority and permanent basis. According to the protesters, cholera cases in their areas have been under-reported and the condition is quite severe as opposed to what is being reported in the media.
Health experts are of the opinion that eventually, the provincial government will be required to set up a research cell to study the cholera epidemic, which has strongly established its foot in the province, reported Greek City Times. (ANI)