A protest was staged in Dera Bugti district’s Pirkoh tehsil on Saturday over a lack of clean drinking water and alarming rise in the number of cholera cases, which according to a health official have reached 2,577.

Dera Bugti District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Azam Bugti told Dawn.com that 210 new cholera cases were reported today, along with two more deaths, taking the total death toll so far to six, including two children. He said 15 patients were in critical condition.

The first cholera case had emerged on April 17, DHO Bugti had said on Wednesday, at which point the number of infections was 1,500.

Locals protested today against the unavailability of potable water and the alleged lack of notice taken of the situation by the chief secretary or other government officials. They demanded that Pirkoh be declared calamity-hit and medicine, food and clean water be provided.

The residents also contested death toll quoted by the DHO, claiming that 20 people had actually died while over 3,200 were ill due to the infectious disease.

Senator Sarfraz Bugti called on authorities to declare an emergency in Pirkoh, take stock of the situation and lend aid to the afflicted, along with completing water supply schemes.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo recently approved additional funds of Rs300 million for emergency completion of ongoing water supply projects in Dera Bugti district. In a meeting with provincial adviser Nawabzada Ghuram Bugti, he had discussed the solution to the water crisis in different areas of the Dera Bugti district.

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