ER Update India Floods: IFAW Commits To Getting Aid To Animals
The following report on floods in India has been written by Shibani Chaudhury:
It is day 17 since Dr.Abhijit Bhaval moved in to assess the flood devastated areas in Bihar, India and day 10 since the IFAW-Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) team arrived to provide relief measures to flood affected livestock.
While the ravaging Kosi river is still flowing 15 feet deep around Narpatganj, where our team reached yesterday, in other areas it is receding slowly; ironically many marooned areas are getting even more inaccessible with the fall in water level. Boats can no longer ply as the water is too shallow and the exposed ground is so swampy it is extremely difficult to walk through; almost impossible to carry relief loads across the boggy stretches. There is heat, humidity, anguish and hunger in most villages. The only salvation lies in relief camps hitched together by the army and some voluntary agencies. Here too the challenges are many and normalcy a distant mirage.
In the last 10 days relief for humans in distress has been somewhat consolidated, but there is barely any animal relief in place. Ours is the first professional animal welfare team to arrive in the Narpatganj area.
"Considering the magnitude of the problem, we have decided to extend the program for another 10 days. If we pull out now, our task will be incomplete. The present group of six vets from Bihar Vet College will be leaving on the 18th and I intend to get another batch in place by the 17th September. They will be here for another week to cover more areas. I am leaving for Patna today to organize this" says Dr. NVK Ashraf, IFAW-WTI Director, currently leading the team.
The group has been divided into two. Traveling on boats, vehicles, rickshaws as well as on foot, one group reached Narpatganj yesterday while the other group is in Purnia. Considerable local political help and hospitality was offered to the team in Purnia. Narpatganj is one of the worst-affected areas. Although not submerged, Narpatganj was completely isolated by the flood waters earlier. No fodder has reached the cattle, which according to the army count, is about 3000 individuals. About 733 animals were treated by the team led by IFAW-WTI director, Dr NVK Ashraf.
Likewise in Purnia, 250 cattle scattered in four relief camps were provided treatment.