Sea intrudes 57 dehs of Thatta district in 45 years: Karachi at threat

THATTA: Sea has intruded 56 dehs of Thatta district within 45 years and has caused massive water-logging and salinity in vast area of the district, affecting agriculture which is the main source of a inhabitants’ livelihood, according to a study conducted.

“Sea has intruded 33 dehs of Ketti Bandar taluka, 11 dehs of Kharochan, 10 dehs of Taluka Ghorabari, and three dehs of Taluka Mirpur Sakro since last 45 years, while more area is likely to come under sea if big dyke along district Thatta is not established immediately,” Community Organization leader Mohammad Dawood told during a visit to the field hit by water-logging and salinity in Mirpur Sakro.

Whole Thatta district is under extreme threat of natural disasters like sea intrusion, floods, earthquakes, cyclones and water-logging. The government intervention is immediately required.

National Institute of Oceanography reports Badin and Thatta could drown by 2050 and Karachi by 2060 if immediate steps are not taken to stop sea intrusion.

Local people said climatic implications have been hitting people of Thatta in shape of sea intrusion, floods and cyclones, reducing their livelihood sources and causing acute drinking water shortages.

Dawood said that sea has intruded three dehs of Taluka Mirpur Sakro while three others have been half-inundated, causing water-logging and salinity in the area.

“The intruded area included deh Milko, deh Darki, and deh Pir Pathori, while deh Ladion, deh Punbari and deh Lakha has been half-inundated. The water level in the sea has risen due to climate change and discharge of industrial and other manmade waste,” Dawood said. He said that 50% coastal land is affected by water-logging and salinity; hence, the government intervention is direly needed to save it from more degradation. He said that dykes should be established around cultivatable land to save them from sea intrusion while tube-wells with drains should be installed to overcome water logging in the area.

He said that taluka Mirpur Sakro is under massive water-logging and salinity and if this situation is not overcome, there will be massive catastrophe.

Local Support Organization (LSO) President Mohammad Ali Shoro said that most land of Thatta has been hit hard by water-logging and salinity; therefore, immediate intervention by the government is needed to save people of Thatta from land degradation. He said: “We grow rice, cotton, wheat, sugarcane and vegetables. The rice is major crop followed cotton, wheat, sugarcane and vegetables.” Shoro said that shortage of drinking and irrigation water is also big problem in the area. Majority of people along coastal area are drinking canal water, which causes water-borne diseases like diarrhea, and hepatitis. He said that present government was taking no interest to provide water supply schemes to the villages.

Local community confirmed impacts of climate change along coastal belt of Thatta district that has reduced agriculture output and drinking water resources.

A villager Ghulam Hussain Khaskheli said that 80 percent people in Union Council Mehar drink canal water as a result they face diseases of diarrhea, hepatitis and stomach. He asked the government to provide safe and clean drinking water to the villagers by establishing water supply schemes across the coastal area of Thatta. He said that water-logging and salinity had badly affected production of cotton, sugarcane and wheat. He said that vast area of coastal land had become saline and is unable to produce any crop.

He said that sea intrusion along Thatta coast is due to non-flow of required freshwater flow from Kotri downstream Kotri to the sea, while its other factors are climate change. Declining of mangroves forests are also cause of sea intrusion. There is need to raise mangrove forest along the coast of Badin, Thatta and Karachi with the help of government

Lack of knowledge about severity of sea intrusion, water-logging and salinity is one of the major causes behind destruction of Thatta district’s land and agriculture. Almost all governments have taken no result-orient steps to save Thatta from drowning.

Thatta, one of the oldest towns in the land of ancient Indus civilization and the district headquarter of Thatta, is situated at 98km east of Karachi. The total area of the district is 17,355 square kilometers that is, 12.32% of the total geographical area of Sindh. River Indus flows downstream the Kotri Barrage through numerous creeks till its delta in Arabian Sea near Chach deh Wali Mohammad at Keti Bunder. Four tehsils of Thatta district are on the right bank, four are on left bank while one tehsil Kharo Chhan is on both sides of river Indus. The southwestern part is saline and sea-affected due to long coastline of about 107 kilometers as well as shortage of river Indus water, while the southern portion adjoining “Great Run of Kachh” on the border of India is desert like sandy area. The northern part of this district is paramount and known as “Kohistan” connected with Kheerthar range of mountains.