Flood in Assam creates heart breaking consequence for animals every year, with scarcity of food and shelter along with water borne diseases. This year, the condition turned worse with water logging and water rising in almost all the small rivers and tributaries of mighty Brahmaputra. According to ASDMA report (dated July 12, 2017), it was found that more than six lakh animals were affected due to heavy rain and hundreds washed away by flood water. The Times of India also reported the 2017 flood as the worst flood in the last three decades with massive loss of human and animals lives and infrastructural damage. According to ASDMA reports, more than 17 lakh animals were affected by the flood on August 15.
The JBF (India) Trust, an animal welfare organization that endeavours to build a society that enables better life for animals and better living condition with human, planned a series of Veterinary Care programs to support the flood affected domestic animals and animal owners in three districts of Assam: North Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Kamrup.
The North Lakhimpur Veterinary Care program was a disaster response event during the first wave of flood in Assam. This two-day long camp was organized on July 26 and 27, during which three camps were organized in Bhugmon, Bagaligan and Amtol villages. Emergency kit bags, animal feed and medicines were provided during the camp. The five member JBF team of veterinary doctor, para-vet and support staff treated 1513 animals in Bhugmon, 641 animals in Bagaligan and 800 animals in Amtol.
The JBF team reached Sonitpur district on August 25, when the Brahmaputra was flowing above danger level at Tezpur in Sonitpur district and the overflowing water of its tributary rivers had already damaged embankments, roads and bridges. Transportation was quite challenging for the team. They started the veterinary camp in Kotoki Chuburi Gaon, where 1350 animals were first aid care and treatment.
Despite hurdles, the response of the animal owners was overwhelming and the villagers offered their support to set up the camp.
In Kamrup district, the JBF team had named the Post Flood Veterinary Support program as ‘Assam Flood Response Operation’. The team carried out a series of programs in several blocks of Kamrup in the month of August and September. Programs were carried out in Rangapani, Chandrapur, Puthimari, Hajo, Panikhaiti and other areas where around 10,000 animals were treated and given veterinary support.
Team JBF also reached Sulung, Bhurbandha and Dhekial village of Nagaon district with veterinary support on September 15.
The post flood veterinary program was supported by a number of individuals and institutions, both in kind and cash. During the setup of veterinary camps, villagers and Panchayat members of the respective areas provided support. The district Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department of North Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Kamrup also provided administrative support and guidance. A number of renowned animal welfare organizations also provided support to carry out the programs. The Help Animals India, A well fed-world and World Animal Protection provided their support treat animals, with medicines and first aid kits.
Till date, JBF has treated nearly 15,000 animals in four districts and is now planning to reach needier and flood affected animals in the coming days. The risk of health, vector born diseases and scarcity of grazing land for cattle and other domestic animals intensify the situation even after the flood water level declines. To minimise the causalities, JBF will carry this program to other districts of Assam as well in coming months.
JBF is also looking to design a more systematic and robust Post-Flood Veterinary Support program for Assam to meet the immediate need of animals and long term measures to save the life and livestock of the communities, with involvement of local and state agencies.
JBF also plans to start their largest camps in Kaziranga and Majui soon.