Many groups have been very hard at work, in the midst of ongoing floods, rescuing, feeding and providing vet care to animals following cyclone Phailin. Among them is The Maitri Club.
Due to the cyclone and power cuts, Kailash Ch Maharana, Chairman of the Maitri Club, writes that it has been impossible for him, until now, to receive or send emails.
They are located in the District of Ganjam, 30 kilometers (18 miles) away from Gopalpur, where cyclone Phailin stuck the sea coast of Orissa, India.
He writes, “Here the situation is horrible.”
On October 12, just before the storm struck, they safely evacuated all the cattle from 13 villages. The cattle are still feeling unsettled and greatly stressed.
Immediately after the cyclone, they were unable to move for two days due to fallen trees. After the 14th, they rounded up ten volunteers and set about helping the animals. Their transportation is by motorbike, and for the rescued cattle, they are distributing food that they had earlier set aside and kept in storage.
One bright spot was that on the evening of October 12, one of the cows they had evacuated, who belonged to a poor farmer, gave birth to a calf. As they heard the roar of the wind pick up, they had all been afraid that the cow or her calf might not survive, but they’re both doing well, and at the height of the storm, during windspeeds of 260 kilometers an hour (161 miles per hour), she gave birth to her calf.
Kailash Ch Maharana’s own house is right by Baghua River, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar. On October 12, the river flooded all around them, and they were stranded for a day and a half. The power is still off, and not expected to be back on for another 20 days. He writes, “A big banyan tree has fallen on our office.”
From October 14 onwards, as soon as they were able to travel, they repaired 260 damaged structures in 20 villages of the Ganjam District, and set up 170 sheets of polythene as temporary protection for the animals.
The government rescuers have so far been able only to help humans and have not provided any assistance to animals. There is an urgent need for fodder for the cows and for more polythene sheeting for shelter for the animals. On October 23 and 24, a low pressure system moved in, bringing heavy downpours of rain, which made their work very difficult and did not help anyone’s spirits.
Kailash tried for seven days to get on the internet to send an email, and at last succeeded at a bank.
In this trying situation, the Maitri Club staff and volunteers continue their courageous work, doing their best to provide feed, shelter, and care for the many displaced animals.
Among many other groups that have been helping animals, in the wake of the cyclone, are Wildlife SOS, Wildlife Trust of India, APOWA, and VSPCA. Hundreds of young and adult Asian openbill storks, blown out of their nests in the storm, are being treated and cared for. Wildlife rehabilitator, Saleem Hameed, (sponsored by People for Animals) has been training some of the rescuers in the proper care and feeding of the wild storks.
To visit the Maitri Club’s website or to donate, click here.
Other organizations may be reached through their websites:
Photos: Courtesy of the Maitri Club