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The river bank dwellers have no option but to drink brackish water

By Rafiullah Mandokhail,

ZHOB: Two minor girls walking home from the river bank with water carried in a yellow bucket for drinking and other use. Although the water is brackish and not drinkable, yet the villagers have no option but to consume it. The village lacks a water supply scheme, a health facility, a functional school and much more.

It is a glimpse of the dusty village Hussainzai – a garlic-growing area in union council Mir Ali Khail of the district. The village is nestled on the left bank of the historic Zhob River some 22 kilometers in the north of Zhob town. The river flows from Muslim Bagh and falls in Gomal River.

The Hussainzai village comprises dozens mud-and-stone houses. It is a backward area with low literacy rate and dependent on small scale of agriculture. The health condition is indeed dismal here as dozens of the villagers are suffering from various diseases.

It is revealed in a Poverty Score Card Census, conducted by Balochistan Rural Support Program under European Union (EU-TA) funded project Baluchistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment Program that dozens of poverty-stricken villagers are suffering from hepatitis, kidney pain, asthma, blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases.

The objective of the door-to-door poverty alleviation survey was to determine the state of poverty and identify the poor dwellers. The survey further reveals that majority of the patients belong to hand to mouth families and unable to be treated at private hospitals.

Although the village is on the river bank, but ironically there is not a drop of water for them to drink. The dug-up wells have been dried up because of depletion of water table as the area is witnessing a dry spell since long.

Dad Muhammad Mandokhail, who heads a village organization says, the villagers have no option but to drink brackish water and the main reason behind the prevailing diseases is consumption of river water. Round the year whether it is chilly winter or sizzling summer the women, young girls and children used to fetch water from the river that is not fit for drink.

Another villager Akhter Muhammad says, he is a hepatitis patient. His relatives advised him to get a spiritual treatment instead of getting treatment at a hospital due to poverty and no access to health facilities.

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