Thousands of animals helped after flooding in Myanmar

With your help, we are committing to feed 4000 cows.   Last month while responding to the floods in Myanmar, we were overwhelmed by the vast area of impacted communities; it seemed like more than half of the entire country was suffering from severe floods.

Working alongside the team from Giving a Future Animal Aid (GAF) and the Myanmar Veterinary Association (MVA), we met first with government representatives and decided to focus on the Ayeyarwady region.  Because of where it is situated, with villages only three meters above sea level, the area remained underwater while other regions were beginning to return to normal. 

On the five hour drive from Yangon, I learned that a member of the MVA worked in this same region in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008.  Back then, an estimated that 84,500 people were killed and another 53,800 went missing.  The Ayeyarwady region was completely devastated.

Myanmar has changed tremendously since then, but I was still worried about what I would find in these remote villages.

Along the Ayeyarwady River, in a small town called Ingapu, families are used to living on the water.  These villages along the delta are perfectly situated for fishing and rice cultivation, the staple crop of the area and the main livelihood for its people.  Houses are built on stilts, an easy way to mitigate the effects of frequent flooding.

But what about the animals?

One of the women took us on a long walk to show us her cows.  We walked through mud and water up to our knees before finally reaching a traditional boat to take us through the flooded waters to her house. Behind her house was the cow’s shelter. It was built high above the water with an earthen and straw floor. Three cows were inside- completely dry and in good health.  They had another structure build for grasses.  They had stored a few weeks’ worth of grass in case of floods.  I could see that she was proud to show us how much she really cared for their animals by making preparations before the floods.

But other animals were not as fortunate and still need help.

Several weeks later, we have received an urgent update from Ingapu.  The rains have continued, never giving an opportunity for the original flood waters to recede.  They are worried.  Grasses in the area have been contaminated by the flood water and it will take at least another three months for new grass to grow.  Until then, they must import grasses from neighboring regions.  The grass shortage has caused prices to rise, and farmers’ funds are running out.

Farmers prefer to use draught cattle as they practice traditional agriculture, so cows are vital to these villages. We met with farmers at a monastery to make a donation of medicines, concentrated feed and rice straw. The MVA hosted a short seminar to demonstrate how to clean the wounds on the cow’s legs caused by standing in water for so long, and to also instruct them on how to prepare the concentrated feed.  Community Animal Health Workers would continue to make visits and provide updates as well as any concerns for potential disease outbreaks.

With your help, we are committing to feed 4000 cows.   

This critical aid will not only help Myanmar’s cattle survive the deadly floods but will undoubtedly make a huge difference in the lives of villagers in Ingapu.

Thank you!

--JG

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