People migrating from coastal areas due to water scarcity, says Rahu

Sindh Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Coastal Development Ismail Rahu on Wednesday said that people living on the coastal areas, including Badin, had started migrating due to acute shortage of water in the province.

“The water shortage has aggravated the problems of Badin and other coastal areas where livestock, fisheries and agriculture have been destroyed,” he said while addressing a seminar on climate change organised by Oxfam, an international NGO working in the country since 1973.

The minister said that hundreds of thousands of acres of coastal land had been washed away due to the scarcity of water, which was also leading to agricultural problems in the province. “Not only the quality of water but also the quantity is an issue. The law on climate change should also be followed,” he opined.

He said a lot of people had suffered, especially communities in the lowest coastal belt, due to water issue. “There has been a loss of agricultural land, wildlife and almost every aspect of people’s lives has been adversely impacted by water scarcity,” he added.

Mr Rahu lauded the Australian government on the work it was doing with Oxfam and its partners and said that the government of Pakistan would stand with such noble initiatives.

Oxfam Pakistan programme manager for the climate change, resilience and humanitarian program Sardar Iftikhar Ahmed Khan said that the NGO had worked in Pakistan to improve livelihoods, provide humanitarian aid, create safer communities and promote economic and gender justice.

“We have supported local partners and worked with government authorities to improve the livelihoods of those living in poverty while providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by disasters and conflict,” he added.

The event showcased Oxfam’s disaster risk reduction, climate change and resilience work through presentations and panel discussions. A documentary featuring Oxfam’s humanitarian journey since 1973 was also screened. The discussions highlighted how Oxfam and its partners strengthened the resilience of poor and marginalised women, men, and uncertainty.

Oxfam’s success stories were shared about contribution to the development of the national climate change policy of Pakistan, creating climate-smart agricultural solutions in coastal communities, developing an embankment to protect communities in Badin from sea intrusion and developing local adaptation plans of action for climate change and food security.

A key feature of the event was the building resilient communities in Pakistan (BRCP) project funded by the Australian government.

The project successes especially in promoting alternative livelihoods, climate-smart agriculture, leveraging technology in the agriculture and disaster risk reduction sector, which were highlighted during the event through documentary screenings, publications, and discussions. Community members, representatives of civil society organisations, district and provincial government in Badin, and policymakers were a part of the event.

John Snobar, second secretary political from the Australian high commission in Pakistan, was also present at the event.

He said the Australian high commission congratulated Oxfam and all partners involved in this important project focused on improving resilience. “Australia has been a long-standing development partner of Pakistan in the agriculture and water sector. This important project helps strengthen community responses to adverse climate change impacts in Pakistan.”

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