Oct 15, 2010
WSPA was recently approached by Sphere India, a national coalition of humanitarian agencies working in India, and asked to contribute our animal welfare expertise and leadership following flash flooding and mud slides in Kashmir which have affected more than 23 villages that depend on nearly 14,000 animals for their livelihoods. Sphere India reached out to WSPA because they recognized that animal welfare and protecting livestock – both before and after natural disasters – is crucial to the survival of rural communities. This important partnership is the first time WSPA and Sphere India have collaborated and illustrates how vital animals are to rural communities in developing countries.
In August, 179 people and 1,441 animals, including cattle, donkeys, sheep and goats, were tragically lost in flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains. Flash floods and mud slides destroyed the region’s infrastructure, and hundreds of homes, roads, bridges and acres of agricultural land were damaged. The region has also lost more than 20 percent of the feed and fodder that had been set aside by communities for animals to live on through the brutal Kashmir winter when temperatures can drop to below -22 degrees Fahrenheit. Without immediate aid many animals will die from foot and mouth disease, starvation and cold temperatures.
The Punjab Regional Government’s Department of Animal Husbandry has agreed to provide nearly 10,000 tons of cattle fodder and concentrated feed. Working with member society Jeevashram, WSPA is hoping to provide 100 tons of fodder as well as vaccinations to help the animals survive the winter. WSPA will also help prepare these vulnerable communities to cope with future natural disasters by putting disaster preparedness measures in place.