Pakistan flood recedes but animal welfare crisis is still underway

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2010:
(Actual press date November 3.)

KARACHI–Floods that swamped more than a fifth of Pakistan
receded in October 2010, but the resultant animal welfare crisis may
have just begun.
“According to the Department of Livestock,” e-mailed
Pakistan Animal Welfare Society founder Mahera Omar, “1.2 million
mammals and six million poultry died in the floods. At least two
million hectares of cultivatable land were damaged. If the planting
seasons are missed, both livestock and people will continue to
suffer for a long time.”

Of the 21 million Pakistanis who were affected by the
flooding, eight million remained displaced in late October,
reported the United Nations. How many animals were in need was
anyone’s guess. Many were slaughtered and eaten, often under
primitive conditions that were suspected of contributing to outbreaks
of Congo-Crimean hemorraghic fever among butchers who handled
tick-infested cattle.
Omar, fellow members of PAWS, and the staff of the Karachi
Animal Hospital had barely begun their first relief mission in August
2010 when their driver had to make a sudden U-turn to avoid a mob
looting trucks.
“A couple of our team members visited Thatta a few days
earlier,” Omar reported, “where they witnessed the mass exodus of
people and their animals from villages to the city. It reminded them
of scenes from the 1947 partition of Pakistan from India. The same
kind of bullock carts, the same sea of humanity on foot mile after
mile, the same worried looks on peoples’ faces. Most sent their
women and children ahead on trucks, and were on foot with all their
animals. Some tried to help baby buffaloes back on their feet, but
the young animals simply couldn’t keep up with the rest of the herd.
Again and again our team members spotted men huddled on the side of
the road over their collapsed animals, eventually having to leave
them behind.”
“The care and concern of the people for their animals was
evident wherever we went,” Omar said. “Some people hadn’t received
any relief goods from the government themselves, yet were busy making
sure their remaining animals survived.”
The PAWS team treated 28 animals on their day in the field
before running out of supplies and daylight–barely more than a
symbolic beginning, but valuable in gaining understanding of how
best to help.
On a September 5 relief mission some of the wheat straw bales
the PAWS team brought to feed starving animals broke apart. “Every
last piece of straw was painstakingly gathered by the people and
carted away by hand and on donkey carts,” Omar observed.
By mid-October PAWS was able to work on a much larger scale.
Joining the PAWS relief effort on October 10, Australian volunteer
Melanie Parkinson helped to treat buffaloes, goats, and a dog at
Tando Hafiz Shah in Thatta District. “Other vet teams worked on
donkeys, goats, oxen, and camels,” Parkinson wrote. “They were
treated for parasites, skin disorders, malnourishment, fevers,
injuries, maggots, eye problems, foot and mouth disease,
rheumatism and a gamut of other problems. More than 170 animals were
seen. And 100 bales of wheat straw, 600 kilograms of goat feed, 340
kilograms of donkey feed and 100 kilograms of chicken feed were given
out–enough to feed 200 buffaloes, 40 goats and 1,666 chickens for a

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