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Emergency help for Bihar’s stranded communities

Sep 8, 2008

A woman steers her goats through floodwater in Bihar, India

WSPA Asia’s disaster assessment and response team is on the ground in the flood-stricken Bihar region of India, with further specialist veterinary help and medicine on its way. More than two million people have been affected by the floods, which are the worst to hit the region in decades.

The flooding has inundated towns and villages that were considered ‘flood-safe areas’ and unprepared for the rising waters. The temporary relief camps providing shelter for people are also the only dry ground available for pets and livestock.

The local people are living alongside their animals in the camps, desperate to keep them alive. These communities depend entirely on their animals: goats, cattle and buffalo provide the local milk, meat, and agricultural muscle-power.

To minimize animal suffering and protect local livelihoods and food security, WSPA is funding emergency medicines, vaccinations, and veterinary teams to examine injured animals.

Providing first aid and preventative care

WSPA's Dr Ashish Sutar discusses local animal health with people in Bihar, India

WSPA’s team of experienced vets is working in a coordinated effort alongside vets from the region (including from the Bihar Veterinary College), assessing the extent of the animal welfare need and allocating resources.

So far, spread of disease is proving the most pressing issue within the livestock enclosures, as stress and hunger have weakened the animals’ immune systems.

WSPA will be working to prevent pneumonia, skin infections and the spread of other contagious diseases, all of which can attack animals kept in humid, crowded conditions.


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A local woman uses WSPA emergency feed after flooding, Bangladesh