Reaching out to the forgotten victims of the earthquake, Animal Nepal in the wake of the disaster treated around 900 animals, including 450 equines working in brick factories. Three veterinary teams took great risks to visit the worst affected districts, including Lalitpur, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk and the outskirts of Kathmandu to help desperate farmers. “Many people consider animals less important but to farmers their livestock are essential for their survival”, says Director Uttam Kafle.
The teams were shocked by the severity of the injuries. They came across broken spines and broken limbs, and treated various cases of pneumonia and diarrhea. The full report can be read here.
The earthquake left close to half a million families homeless. Till recently it was unclear how many animals had died. A preliminary survey shows that close to 150.000 birds, 8000 buffaloes and cows and 14,500 pigs and goats died. The number has however gone up after the strong after shock on May 12.
With the help of two livestock vets from World Vets, Animal Nepal mobilized three teams to reach out to injured livestock in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Dhading and Sindhupalchowk. A total of 900 animals were treated, including 500 working equines, 150 farm animals in Lalitpur, 132 in Sindhupalchowk and 80 in Dhading District.
In order to build local capacity, protocols on limb casting and downer cows were developed and two workshops benefiting 30 (student) veterinarians organized.
With the help of the media and Dr Narayan Ghimire from the Nepal Vet Council a sensitization programme was organized to inform people about the burying of dead animals. Radio stations and newspapers reported widely about the importance and different techniques of carcass removal.
“Making sure remaining animals survive is crucial for long term sustainability. Veterinary aid, animal feed and shelter needs to be considered by all government and aid agencies’ relief efforts”, says Kafle.
Although Animal Nepal was ready to treat sick and injured canines, it found that stray dogs suffered relatively less casualties. “Dogs are very intelligent creatures, who seem to know where to run for safety”, explains Kafle. The twenty cases that were treated included broken limbs and open wounds
A relatively low number of deaths and injuries were found among stray dogs. Animal Nepal treated twenty injury cases. However, many frightened pets lost their homes. A special website was set up to connect people who lost and found dogs after the earthquake. Ads were put in various newspapers. Kafle: “The office phone ran non stop and luckily we were able to reunite a few worried owners with their pets.”