The desert region in Sindh covers an area of approximately 68,000 km and comprises of Thar, Nara and Kohistan.
The Thar region is mainly in the Tharparkar district and extends southwards along the Runn of Kutch. It extends over an area of 23,000 km and has a population of one million people. The Nara region spans 22,000 km and its upper portion lies in four districts: Sukkar, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Sanghar. Finally, Kohistan, with a coverage of 23,000 km comprises of parts of Dadu, Larkana and Thatta.
These areas are characterized by large tracts of barren land that receive very little rainfall leading to frequent drought-like conditions. The vegetation primarily comprises of stunted scrubs.
The desert areas are among the poorest in Pakistan, with lack of infrastructure facilities health, education etc. Majority of the people are involved in livestock production and cattle raising. However, due to limited or no access to resources, and lack of education and training, the locals are not able to maximize their economic potential. Traditional methods of livestock breeding are still being practiced and animal mortality rate remains quite high due to malnourishment during drought periods. Since rain is the main source of water and therefore agriculture and livestock activities are dependent on rainfall, the failure of monsoon means no fodder for the cattle and livestock. Further, to compound the problem poor transportation links make import of fodder from other areas quite expensive and therefore unaffordable for the locals.
Sources: IUCN (2004), Sindh State of Environment and Development, Sindh Programme Office
(Source: The New Oxford Atlas for Pakistan) Map of Desert Region of Sindh
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