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Pakistan - Pakistan: 4 dead in Balochistan cholera outbreak
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Dera Bugti, Dera Bugti district, Balochistān Province
Four people, including a toddler, have died in a cholera outbreak at Dera Bugti's Pirkoh Tehsil of Balochistan as Pakistan deals with an acute water crisis, including unavailability of clean drinking water. According to Azam Bugti, a Dera Bugti District Health Officer (DHO), out of the four persons who succumbed to cholera were a two-year-old and a woman. They lost their lives after drinking contaminated water from a puddle, reported the Dawn newspaper. The health official stated that since the first case of cholera emerged on April 17 this year, over 1500 people have taken ill due to the disease till date. Further, as many as 123 new cholera cases were reported on Wednesday. Bugti stated that due to the enormous rise in the number of cholera patients in the district headquarters hospital, healthcare workers were forced to accommodate patients on the ground. In addition, he expressed concerns that medicines were also fast running out. Locals in Pirkoh are of the opinion that they were forced to drink water out of ponds and puddles because the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department, which is assigned with the development and provision of safe drinking water, failed to provide them with a clean water supply line, reported the Dawn newspaper. Reportedly, Senator Sarfraz Bugti on Monday had requested newly-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo to inform relevant authorities to declare an emergency in Pirkoh. Further, upon the request made by Sarfraz Bugti, Bizenjo has taken into account the absence of clean drinking water in Pirkoh. Considering the situation in Pirokh to be an emergency he had even approved the release of Rs 10 million to the PHE department so that they can enable sufficient water supply through tankers to the residents of the affected areas, reported the Dawn newspaper. The Chief Minister of Balochistan has also directed the Sibi division's commissioner to monitor the measures taken by the PHE to resolve the water crisis. Pakistan is estimated to be in the top 10 list of the world's countries facing water scarcity. Stressing on the cause of water issues, a UN representative cited climate change, floods, and drought as the reason. (ANI)