Malawi Floods – IFAW Relief Effort to Save Thousands of Stranded Animals

Malawi Floods – IFAW Relief Effort to Save Thousands of  Stranded Animals
Tuesday, 10 February, 2015
Nsanje District, Malawi

A relief effort to save thousands of farm and companion animals stranded by extreme flooding in cyclone ravaged Malawi, Southern Africa, begins in the worst hit region today.

An IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) led Disaster Response Team of international and local vets and para vets, departed for Nsanje District today where urgent action is needed to save farm animals that survived the devastating flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone’s Bansi and Chedza in the past month.

Thousands of animals, including cattle, goats, chickens and pigs which managed to escape the rain are now marooned on ‘islands’ of higher ground surrounded by flood waters,” said Shannon Walajtys, Animal Rescue-Disasters Manager for IFAW.

IFAW has launched the relief effort in response to a request by Malawian authorities which asked for urgent action to help save surviving animals. Nsanje District officials said an initial assessment found that more than 91,000 animals including nearly 5,000 cattle and 38,000 goats and sheep had died in the floods, but that as many as one-million are potentially affected.

“Up to 300,000 people have been displaced by the flooding which was worst in southern Malawi. Most of these people are subsistence farmers who have lost everything, their homes, their crops and their backyard farm animals. Ensuring that their remaining animals stay healthy and strong is absolutely crucial to ensuring people can rebuild their lives once the floodwaters recede,” said Walajtys.

The IFAW Disaster Response Team intends to provide emergency veterinary care to include vaccinating 10,000 animals; as well as providing feed for animals suffering from lack of food availability. A rabies vaccination campaign will be conducted for dogs at evacuation centres.

IFAW has been active in Malawi at Liwonde National Park since 2011, through its Liwonde National Park Conservation Programme, in which it partners with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. In 2013 IFAW support helped build the Chikolongo Community Fish Farm which provides a livelihood opportunity for local people and secure access to safe drinking water.

IFAW also partners with the ngo HELP Malawi and this year will roll out IFAW’s Animal Action Education Programmes to schools close to Liwonde, intended to significantly improve school success rates in local communities who live daily with wildlife.

In just over five years, IFAW has rescued and treated domestic and wild animals in more than 30 of the world’s worst disasters including flood response work in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, in India after Cyclone Phailin and in the deadly aftermath of monsoons in Pakistan.

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

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Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
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Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
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Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
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