By Sajid Bajeer 

People of Thar have started to return to their homes after the fresh spell of rain as some had been forced to move to the irrigable area due to drought like conditions.

Tharparkar, a drought-hit district of Sindh, is returning back to life after the fresh spell of monsoon rain. Each and every drop of rain brings joy to the faces of Thari people. Who knows better the importance of rain than the people of Thar as life depends on rain in this particular area of Pakistan.

Monsoon showed its true colours in the Thar Desert after five years and brought smiles on faces of Tharis. According to Metrological Department, the district has received a good spell of rain this season, which is being considered beneficial for crops in the area.

Clouds have enveloped the Thar Desert area bringing some relief from the drought which had afflicted the place for some time.

Although, there have been occasions in the past when rain turned out to be a curse, destroying crops. Met Office recorded 664 mm rain in Thar since June 25, which has given a welcome respite to the locals from the drought-like conditions.

The timing of this rain spell is also crucial when Tharparker has been facing acute drought for the last five years. It’s estimated that the lives of almost 1.6 million people and 6 million animals are dependent on the rain in Thar and its surroundings, where drought has been a cause of hunger and malnutrition among poor people living in this area. It affected animals as well, killing thousands of them.

According to the Health Department figures, 1,600 to 1800 children have lost their lives during the drought. More than 3,000 animals lost their lives due to lack of water and drought.

Thar peacocks were also badly hit by the harsh weather conditions, threatening their existence.

The weather conditions have even hit hard the peacocks of Thar, which has been a habitat of the bird since centuries, adding to the colours of this area. The recent drought has also threatened the existence of this colourful bird, killing more than five thousands of them.

Despite harsh climate, the patience of the locals in Thar couldn’t be defeated, who always remained hopeful during all those testing years of drought. It was their patience and hope which brought clouds and ultimately smile on their faces.

Locals have started preparing their fields for different types of crops after this spell of rain. Rain in the months of June and July helps Tharis to grow different types of wheat, pulses and lentils.

Youth enjoying the decent spell of rain, which showered after a gap of five years.

But if it rains in the month of August, it prevents farmers from sowing more sensitive type of wheat like millet, which needs at least 50 mm of rain after every 15 days.

By the virtue of rain, Tharis can grow wheat for their families and fodder for their animals. These crops are also sold to buy clothes and other necessities of life, besides feeding their families and animals.

As every drop of rain is precious in Thar, so Tharis make sure not to waste a single drop. For this purpose, they build underground reservoirs which are only used for drinking water.

The water will be saved in small ponds and reservoirs for future use.

The water of these reservoirs can be consumed from two to three months after every rain spell. Rain turns water wells into drinkable water reservoirs for few days and underwater levels also rise, easing the process of pumping water in the area. Open air water reservoirs or ponds serve animals which can drink this water for a few days after a decent rain spell.

People who left Thar and settled in irrigable areas of the province, for the sake of feeding their animals properly and to earn a livelihood, have started to come back to their native villages with the return of rain. To end the drought completely from the area, rain should pour down after every 15 days for four months consecutively, tell metrologists.

Sajid Bajeer is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Tharparkar district. 

All photos by the author