Struggling to survive

High inflation can have a devastating impact on vulnerable communities

Struggling to survive


harparkar and Umerkot districts have seen a high number of suicides in recent years. The reasons behind these suicides are diverse and complex, ranging from poverty and unemployment to domestic issues. The main reason, however, is rampant poverty. The recent surge in inflation has added another layer of hardship to the burden of already struggling communities, especially for women.

The cost of living has skyrocketed. The wages and salaries have not kept pace with the rising prices. As a result, many individuals and families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. This has heightened the risk of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. According to AWARE, a local NGO, 681 people have committed suicides over the last nine years. A majority of them were women. Umerkot has a high rate of suicide cases. Only Thar has a higher suicide rate in the country.

Inflation has been on the rise in Pakistan for several months. The consumer price index has climbed to 27.6 percent.

The high inflation rate has had a negative impact on the national economy, particularly for low-income households that are struggling to cope with the rising prices. It has also led to a decrease in consumer spending, as people are forced to spend more on essential items and have less disposable income to spend on non-essential goods and services. Due to the current situation, the government has implemented various measures, such as increasing interest rates, reducing import duties on certain essential goods, and providing subsidies on certain items. However, these measures have had limited success in curbing inflation.

The surge in prices has hit the low-income communities particularly hard in Tharparkar and Umerkot, where poverty rates are already high. The increasing cost of basic necessities has made it even harder for families to make ends meet, leading to a sense of hopelessness and despair among many. Women are disproportionately affected by rising inflation. The burden of inflation falls heavily on their shoulders as they struggle to provide basic necessities for their families.

As both the districts of Thar and Umerkot are already at a high risk for suicide, the high inflation will likely have an even greater impact on these areas. The combination of pre-existing high-risk factors and the added stress of economic instability can lead to increased rates of suicide. It is important for government and community organisations to provide resources and support for those in need. This may include mental health services, financial assistance and education on coping strategies for dealing with economic hardship.

It is imperative that the government acknowledge the unique challenges faced by Tharparkar and Umerkot districts. The government can help ensure that the inhabitants of these regions are able to live their lives with dignity, peace and security and enjoy the same opportunities and quality of life as those in other regions.

In India, the government has taken several measures to control inflation. These include increasing interest rates, reducing subsidies on certain items and reducing import duties on essential goods. The government has also introduced a programme called Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, that aims to provide access to banking and financial services to low-income households to help stabilise the economy and provide a sense of financial security. In terms of suicide prevention, India has set up a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and increased funding for mental health services. The government has also launched a campaign called Live, Love, Laugh to promote mental health awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Bangladesh has implemented measures to control inflation, including providing subsidies on essential goods and increasing import duties on luxury items. The government has also launched a program called Digital Bangladesh to increase access to technology and digital services to help in stabilising the economy and provide employment opportunities.

Reducing suicide risk in high-risk areas requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. By increasing access to mental health services, educating the villagers, promoting social support networks, addressing socioeconomic factors, encouraging help-seeking behaviour and promoting responsible reporting, we can work together to reduce the incidence of suicide and improve mental health outcomes in these areas. Joint kitchens and shared meal within a joint family can also serve as a valuable way to build social support networks and improve overall well-being in the community.

It is crucial for the government to recognise the unique needs of these districts and to provide tailored support accordingly. Targeted assistance is clearly needed to improve the quality of life.

One important area where the government could provide support is the basic needs. Many villages in the area lack access to clean water, healthcare services and nutritious food. By providing subsidies for these basic necessities, the government could ensure that these individuals are able to live healthy and productive lives.

Another key area where support is needed is economic assistance. Many of the villagers lack access to job opportunities or have low-wage, unstable jobs. By providing subsidies and other forms of economic support, the government could help create more sustainable livelihoods for them.

It is imperative that the government acknowledge the unique challenges faced by Tharparkar and Umerkot districts and address the specific needs of each area. By doing so, it can ensure that the inhabitants of the region can live their lives with dignity, peace and security and enjoy the same opportunities and quality of life as those in more affluent regions. It is only through a concerted effort from all stakeholders that we can work towards reducing the incidence of suicide in these vulnerable areas.

The writer has more than 12 years of experience in the development sector. He can be reached at

Struggling to survive