By Rashmi Ranjan,
As well as direct feeding of animals, we have also handed over food to village authorities and community groups so they can continue to feed stray hungry animals in their villages until the situation returns to normal. We are making good progress, but there is still so much to do.
October 29, 2013:
We conducted relief work in the worst affected villages of Niakanthapur, giving relief to 55 animals. We are thankful to the local Sarpanch for providing a country boat so we could get around.
October 30, 2013:
Today we visited Dandisahi village, which was still marooned by surrounding floodwaters. Our rescue team moved from door to door. We fed and treated 51 animals and gave out leaflets about the importance of hygiene in preventing disease outbreaks.
October 31, 2013:
We covered the area around Bhagirathpur village in the Chhatrapur block, of Ganjam district. Our team worked together with a vet team from Chhatrapur block and a WTI (Wildlife Trust of India)/IFAW team to feed and treat 54 animals.
November 1, 2013:
It was another long working day for APOWA’S disaster rescue team. We gave food and treatment to 127 animals in Mahanadapur village of the Chhatrapur block, of Ganjam district. We are grateful for the help of our amazing volunteers, who responded quickly on the first day of the disaster and who are still working alongside us.
November 2, 2013:
Today we remained at Mahanadpur village, continuing relief work for a second day Our team reached 140 animals with food and medical treatment. The footprint of the devastation is huge. Now the situation is slowly improving, and it is possible to reach many remote villages which were previously cut off without any access.
November 3, 2013:
Our team is hard at work in the devastated areas of Ganjam and Kendrapara district. We treated 77 surviving animals in Biripur village, including dogs, cats, cows, and bulls.
November 4, 2013:
We visited Manikpatana village in the Aul block, which was hit by the cyclone and then by floods. We gave food and vet care to the animals and showed the villagers how to use the medicines, explaining the dosages that need to be administered, so we could leave supplies with them for the long-term care of the animals. Our team, headed by Dr Laxman Behera, treated 61 animals.
November 5, 2013:
We conducted relief work in Shantipada village. Our team treated 62 animals including dogs, cows, and bulls.
November 6, 2013:
Our disaster response team of volunteers, vet techs, and veterinarians, all working together, doing rounds of the streets of Sidhabali village, checked, treated, and gave food to 53 animals.
November 7, 2013:
Our team spent the whole day providing vet care to injured or sick cows, bulls, buffaloes, dogs, cats, and other animals in Jagannathpur village. People were happy to see us and eagerly brought injured and sick animals to our treatment camp. Several village people volunteered to help and worked alongside our team to treat stray dogs, bulls, and cats in their village. 58 animals were treated today.
From Cats to Dogs to Stray Bulls…
Ever since cyclone Phailin devastated 18 coastal districts of Odisha on October 12, 2013, APOWA’s disaster response team has been helping afflicted animals, victims of the cyclone and the terrible floods that followed. Thousands of animals are silent victims of this catastrophe. Even now, our rescue team is continuing to help make life better for the animals including dogs, cats, bulls, cows, goats, sheep, and donkeys. We educate villagers about disease-prevention measures and post-disaster care, and hand out leaflets in the local language. We are committed to the well being of these suffering animals and will continue our cyclone and flood relief work until the situation improves.
We would like to thank Help Animals India, HSI-India, WTI/IFAW, Harmony Fund, and Singhvi Charitable Trust for their support in this hour of need to provide relief and rescue efforts to the animal victims of the cyclone and floods. Local community volunteers are stepping forward as part of this response.
We are grateful to all who have shown concern for the animals, and we are confident that their compassion will help the affected villages move forward — not only in the wake of this particular effort, but that this will lay the groundwork for an increased sensitivity to animal welfare throughout the community in the days and months ahead.
Thanks and kind regards,
On behalf of the APOWA Team,
Monsoon rains in Uttarakhand have been heavier than at any time in the past 60 years, and floods have killed over 500 people. 5,000 are still missing, and the death toll is expected to rise. Buildings have been toppled and swept away, as well as entire villages and settlements.
The flooding has also devastated parts of Nepal and the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, as wells as Delhi. These areas are in the far north of India, near the foothills of the Himalayas—a spectacularly beautiful area of forests and snow-covered mountains, where there are major Hindu sacred sites and temples. Many thousands of visiting pilgrims have been caught in the floods, which have swept away bridges and roads.
Sadly, a great many animals have also died or been hurt in the rushing water. 5,000 mules, horses, and donkeys who transport pilgrims up and down the steep, rocky slopes, are now stranded on the far side of the Alaknanda River, one of the headstreams of the Ganges. Most are mules, and, as well as needing feed and clean drinking water, some are injured, and in urgent need of veterinary treatment.
Another 100-200 mules on this side of the river will soon be taken to the small town Josimath.
Help Animals India is working with their two partner organizations to bring help to both people and animals stranded by the floods.
Help Animals India’s partners, PFA Dehra Doon and AAGAAS Federation, have reported that a temporary bridge has been constructed and that authorities are now evacuating all the stranded pilgrims across the river. As soon as this has been completed, if all goes well, PFA Dehra Doon and AAGAAS Foundation will be able to start transporting the injured mules to safety, and giving them urgently-needed veterinary care, medicine, feed and water.
Help Animals India, for the past several years, has worked with many Indian animal welfare groups, benefiting thousands of animals.
Eileen Weintraub, Founder and Director of Help Animals India writes, “We are doing our best to help the “Himalayan Tsunami” with many hundreds of people dead and thousands still stranded. We are buying medical supplies as well as ropes, tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks and tarpaulin to go in and access the situation to rescue and treat as many as possible of the hundreds of abandoned equines – horses/donkeys/mules. We will have to get through this next round of rain and the full moon, and this coming week will start the relief efforts for the survivors …On the ground are our trusted partners PFA Dehra Doon and AAGAAS Federation and volunteers coming up from Mumbai… Every penny will go towards the relief effort. Thank you for your compassion during these difficult times.”
Donations to Help Animals India are U.S. tax-deductible.
To donate through the website of Help Animals India, click here.
To visit Help Animals India’s Facebook page, click here.
To visit the website of PFA Dehra Doon, click here.
To visit the website of AAGAAS Federation, click here.
Photo: Courtesy of AAGAAS Federation / This was taken before the current floods.