Caring for livestock in times of floods

Welfare organisation starts sending fodder for animals of rural communities


Ayesha Khan Ansari September 23, 2022
A man pulls his animals while others go to salvage their belongings amid rising flood water, following rains and floods during the monsoon season on the outskirts of Bhan Syedabad near Sehwan in Jamshoro district on September 8, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI:

The destruction caused by unprecedented floods in Pakistan has triggered global outpouring of compassion as the international community is pledging assistance to mitigate human suffering. Millions of cattle have also perished in the floods, while those that have survived are now facing a severe fodder shortage.

The Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), a nongovernmental organization, has stepped forward to arrange fodder for livestock in the flood-hit areas. The NGO sent two truckloads of fodder to Badin and Mirpurkhas districts from Karachi on Thursday.

According to CDRS Country Director Katrina Hosein, the fodder includes eight tones of straw and four tones of bran. The fodder has been packed into 20kg bundles to facilitate distribution among the affected farming communities. One bundle will suffice three animals for six days. “We will try to ensure uninterrupted supplies for six months,” she added.

Hosein said that the flood has destroyed houses and crops as well cattle pens and fodder deposits of farming communities in the flood-hit areas. Cattle are an important source of income for these communities, she added. “There is a severe shortage of fodder for the animals to survive. That is why the Comprehensive Disaster Response Services started its services.”

According to a report of the National Disaster Management Authority, more than 730,000 cattle heads have died due to the recent rains and floods. The affected communities, along with their cattle and whatever belongings they could save, are taking shelter on sides of roads and they are extremely worried about their animals.

Their cattle are becoming sick and weak due to malnutrition in the absence of fodder, she said. Foul-smelling water is being given to the animals to drink, which is further adding to the problem.

Hosein said that CDRA representatives will provide fodder wherever they find cattle on the sides of roads. One flood victim from Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan said that his 75 cattle heads perished right in front of his eyes and he could do nothing. “It was the capital of my life,” he said.

The flood victims are forced to sell their animals at throwaway prices due to the fodder shortage. “An animal worth millions of rupees is being sold for thousands. We have to save the rural economy as it is the backbone of our country’s economy,” Hosein said.

“As long as we have resources, we will continue to help their livestock,” she said while calling upon people to step forward and contribute, so that the last hope of the flood victims could be saved and they can start their lives anew.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2022.

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