ISLAMABAD, (Muzaffargarh.City – 28th Jan, 2021 ) :The women affected due to climate change-induced migration in Tharparkar and Muzzaffargarh have demanded role in decision making aimed to cope with adverse impacts of natural disasters. A recent study conducted on Climate-induced Migrations affecting all genders particularly women and girls by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Senior Research Fellow and Environmentalist Maryam Shabbir Abbasi had investigated the vageries of women and girls in two different districts of Sindh and Punjab of Tharparkar and Muzzaffargarh respectively to know the movement of people enforced due to climatic happenings. It included displacement of masses with purpose or without purpose due to devastation or implications of climate change. Speaking on the occasion, Maryam Shabbir said as per global experts on migration women were mostly deficient in capacity to adapt with rapidly occurring climate change events for movement whereas the males due to stronger physical abilities were able to migratebut gender disparity in climate-induced migration needed to be studied. The purpose of the study was to take the voices of women facing migration, factors leading to displacement and social vulnerability due to climate change of the weaker factions of the society. She added that the study focussed group discussions of 8-9 women where women with higher vulnerability were given priority during discussions. As per the study, in Rural and urban areas of Tharparkar rainfall below 266 mm per annum resulted in prolonged events of droughts that left the local commumities mostly dependant on livestock, peacock farming and labour work in the fields with some women having skills of developing artifacts. However, drought, heat and cold waves were recurring natural calamities in the region. On the contrary, Muzzaffargarh had intensive water events of floods and severe climatic changes brought shift in agriculture patterns in the region. The study had highlighted that Women and their Health was equally at risk bearing the burden of serious impacts of environmental degradation. She added that pregnant women were facing huge risk during mobility as they either lose or had still birth of their babies during migration which was mainly due to drought or floods. Narrating the story of a local woman who lost her infant child due to migration amid drought, Maryam quoted that it had mainly caused owing to camel travelling and intensive hard labour in the fields in consequence to the displacement. She also highlighted the psychological impacts of climate change caused happenings on women resulting migration. “Around 8.69 percent of the women migrated to urban areas of the study districts had reported better health facilities whereas 91.
31 woman claimed worst health facilities received in these areas after migration.” She also mentioned that Tharparkar woman had unclean water and it took 3 hours to bring that unclean water for use with no hospital facilities available. The study stated the situation of food and water in Muzaffargarh where 65 percent women in urban areas rated water available as worst where in rural areas 100 percent women termed the water available as worst. Women in Muzzaffargarh fed flood water mixed with sugar to children during floods as only those having links to adminstration got clean drinking water, she said. Maryam said: “Migration can be an opportunity if woman given role in decision making and has proved to be disaster if unilateral decisions imposed on them.” During the study, it was found that most of the women never went to school and few were those who lost access to education due to floods while most of the uneducated women wanted to educate their girls. The migration affected women also gave their recommendations as the women in Tharparkar suggested that govt should provide jobs to climate induced migrants where the women should be trained and given access to market and education facilities where the Tharparkar women want excess to market to improve livelihood. They also added that the government should provide RO plants and hand pumps because they had to pay for unclean water which is not available every time. It also added that the government should provide community halls for stay during disasters and opportunities for vocational training to achieve skills for alternate employment. Fodder for animals should be made available to secure livestock in drought or other disaster hit areas whereas women should be provided with safe places, schools and madrassas for education. The displaced people’s ID card issue should be resolved who lack this facility as the displaced people were not able to vote or buy property. Moreover, the Flood prone areas should be declared non-residential areas where women should be given chance in decision making and men should be provided awarenes on this matter. The research was ICMPD and EU funded project. To a question, she said migration management did not exist in any of the disaster hit areas, no permanent solution given and no ownership of the migrants.Early warning system played a key role in awareness of the local masses to avoid disasters like floods, she added.Executive Director SDPI Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, in his vote of thanks, said the role of media was crucial in highlighting the marginalised and deprived masses of disaster hit areas.