Nature's Blast: Pakistan's Nuclear-Test Region Suffers Drought

By Mustikhan, Ahmar | New Internationalist, September 2000 | Go to article overview

Nature's Blast: Pakistan's Nuclear-Test Region Suffers Drought


Mustikhan, Ahmar, New Internationalist


In southernmost Pakistan, site of the Government's nuclear tests, drought has left a trail of deaths and destruction. International aid organizations estimate it will take at least three years before life can limp back to normality.

In Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest province, at least 200 people perished due to the drought -- although the Government puts the death toll at 15. Baluchistan's Arenji area is where Pakistan tested its nuclear device. 'The drought started immediately after the nuclear blasts. It is for the scientists to ascertain the link between the two. We have reasons to believe it was because of the detonations,' says Akhtar Mengal, former chief executive of Baluchistan province.

Government officials emphasize there was no report of radiation in the area after the nuclear blasts in Chagai. But Mengal has doubts about their capacity to limit the effects of the detonations to the test site: 'Even in the most advanced nations of the world, nuclear blasts are not entirely safe. …

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