Recurring Nightmare: India Floods Disrupt Millions
|The cow was rescued and reunited with the owner. IFAW has supported PFA Mumbai's animal disaster flood relief in Surat, Gujarat in India.|
Over the past couple of years, IFAW has reported on the annual floods in India, which follow heavy monsoon rains and periodically wash away communities in several Indian states. Sadly, ‘India floods’ has become a household term here at IFAW headquarters; they have become an annual tragedy.
Every year In what has become a tragic annual ritual during the summer (June-September) monsoons: rains and overflowing rivers have killed at least 400 people and left more than 4 million homeless in the Indian states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh over the past two and a half weeks. The lives of as many as 15 million people have been disrupted by the flooding.
The IFAW ER team has formed a close bond with the a local ER team in India called WREN (Wildlife Rehabilitators Exchange Network). With assistance from IFAW, WREN has stepped up their capabilities in rescue and providing emergency relief for livestock, pet and wildlife rescue, care, and rehabilitation. IFAW’s support has helped WREN obtain animal rescue equipment such as snake tongs, transportation crates, shelter cages and torches. These items are necessary so that ER team members are not endangering their own lives, as well as increasing the likelihood of survival for the animals rescued.
Not only are the high and fast moving waters threatening to villages, but it’s what's swimming in those waters that's so threatening. Can you imagine? India’s jungles, rich and thriving with exotic and often dangerous wildlife, are also targeted by the monsoon rains, which wash the wildlife into villages destroyed by the flooding.
The annual India floods shed add an entirely new dimension and challenge to animal rescue. In addition to the standard rescue protocols of a flood disaster, the WREN ER team is faced with rescuing many species of exotic wildlife that wash up into human populated areas. These species include civet cats, parakeets, cobras, monitor lizards and turtles (even rhinos and leopards have been swept away in these floods!). Rescue and rehabilitation of these animals requires a great deal of expertise.
Stay tuned for stories that are just now starting to come out of the field…..