Emergency relief in Bangladesh

A WSPA vet provides emergency care to cattle after flooding, Bangladesh

WSPA delivered emergency relief when the worst floods in living memory hit Bangladesh in August 2007, displacing more than one million people and their animals. 

WSPA worked alongside local partners to protect animals from further suffering and shelter what was left of the local agricultural economy.

Flood damage

Hundreds of thousands of cattle and goats were affected by the flooding.

WSPA found livestock suffering from poor nutrition and painful diseases. Milk, a staple of the local diet, was severely reduced or stopped. Calves were still born.

The hay and grazing grass was destroyed, so farmers fed livestock any vegetation they could find. But even when the animals could digest this, it was of little nutritional value.

The flood waters left behind parasites which caused weight loss, stomach pain and organ shut down. Watching the animals suffer in this way was extremely distressing for the owners.

Many of the displaced people were small farmers, their income reliant on trading goats. Fearing their animals would die, some sold livestock cheaply to pay for immediate needs.

This left poor farmers in a worst case scenario – with their few animals gone, their livelihoods were destroyed.   

Working together to deliver relief

WSPA worked with a number of regional organizations to bring effective relief to the flood-stricken area: member society the Bangladesh Animal Welfare Organization, the Human Development Program, the Government of Bangladesh’s Department of Livestock Services, Chittagong Veterinary University and BRAC.

After an assessment by WSPA’s disaster response team, the emergency relief effort:

  • Targeted the families least able to afford food or treatments for their animals, and who would suffer most if their animals were to die. 

  • Concentrated on the worst hit districts, ensuring the emergency relief made a real difference for those animals – and their owners – receiving aid. 

  • Transported, delivered and distributed:
    Anti-parasite treatments for infected cows, goats and sheep.
    Emergency feeds which reduced hunger and boosted the animals’ nutrition and immune system levels.

Animals that were restored to health could then play a key role in revitalizing the flood hit area.

WSPA maintained a presence in the area to monitor and evaluate the relief effort.

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