Posted by: orissafloods | September 29, 2008

APOWA Flood Activities Report

Helping about a disaster’s most innocent and defenseless victims — the animals

It is day 9, since our team has been working restlessly to provide relief to the surviving animals. Overall flood situation in the state is improving with the receding of the water in the affected districts. But the situation in Gardpur and Marsaghai blocks of Kendrapara districts remains grim. The extent of the devastation exceeded anybody’s wildest imaginations. The current floods, which have called the worst in living memory for coastal districts, have not only killed many of people and displaced hundreds of thousands more but have also hurt and displaced livestock and caused a concern for disease outbreak among livestock and companion animals. While humanitarian agencies are caring for the people, APOWA is doing everything that we can to care for the animals. The rescue team, which includes veterinarians, volunteers has been making daily forays into the flood hit areas by boat and by four-wheel drive vehicles where possible. The team is being helped by volunteers of local Youth clubs and our GP representatives. Ours is the first and only professional animal welfare team was conducting the rescue and relief works for animals in this huge area. There is humidity, anguish and hunger in most villages. People’s frustration is running high and that among other factors is affecting our work. No major cases of disease in animals were encountered, though the team is prepared with vaccination supplies to handle any signs of livestock disease outbreaks. Many animals were found to be severely malnourished.

In our major achievement, we rescued more than 50 cattle of a Goshala, severely affected by the flood under Purussotampur village of Shymasundarpur Pachayat of Kendrapara block. It took the team nearly 3 hours to reach at the Goshala due to rugged roads and logistic challenges. The team was providing cattle feeds with medicine assistance so that they can feed and provide veterinary care to animals in the Goshala. Our team spent the afternoon doing relief works at the Goshala on 28th September 2008.

Although we did get a warning that heavy flood is coming in the Mahanadi, we did not believe it would create such a mammoth flood. For the past so many years we have been hearing someone; so we never took this seriously. Initially the flood waters took more than 24 hours to reach us but then it kept continuously rising. When it rose to more than five feet and the flow got very strong; many of the bamboo and mud houses broke and many people in the low-lying areas had to flee leaving everything; even their animals in some cases.” I decided to stay back, because I just could not let my cattle die. The waters kept rising; six of my calves were swept away. At one point the cows had just their noses above the water. For 24 hours the water remained at that level. If it had gone up by a few inches they would have drowned. Then it started receding, but the animals stood in three feet of water for at least six days. Oh, thank goodness someone is going to help our cattle here!” Shyamsundar Sahoo, the care taker of Sri Sri Gateskar Goshala messaged us these words.

Hungry and homeless
Livestock are at risk for starvation. Calving and lambing season begins soon, and if livestock do not receive fodder, the animals and people who depend on them will experience a domino effect. Consequences extend beyond animal starvation-whole villages can be affected. Lands cannot be tilled; crops, for human consumption and livestock fodder, will not grow; animals will be unable to produce dairy; milk production may stop, leaving animals unable to feed newborn calves; and lost dairy production, a mainstay of the Orissa region, will add to economic devastation. Where do hungry, homeless animals graze when land is submerged? “There is intense pressure on the strips of land that are available. Even the land above water is simply not enough to accommodate this many hungry animals. Restoring the lands will not be an easy task. Because of sand and silt, regaining fertile ground and grazing areas could take as long as a year, increasing pressure on the herds. Still thousands of animals are standing under open sky as large number of shelter washed away.

Animal Rescue & Relief operations of APOWA underway in Flooded Orissa:
It is indeed rewarding and not to forget a great challenge for APOWA Rescue team to immediate respond the Orissa flood. The relief operation is still effectively continuing in affected areas in Kendrapara district. When the other NGOs of the district were busy in meetings & monitoring the external agencies and Govt help, in that time we are in field for rescue and relief operation on the very first day of the flood devastation. We are the first organization come forward to help people and their animals in the precarious situation. A big thank you to our dedicated volunteers as we ensuring timely & effectively rescue and relief works.

  • Emergency Feeding and distribution of Feed & Fodder: During Flood, the affected animals were fed with feed and fodder as emergency basis. In order to bring down the losses of lives arising due to non-availability of feed, a proper distribution schedule is prepared and followed as per the need of the situation. Much attention was paid for proper and timely distribution of feed and fodder to the needy animals. Sufficient amount of fodder and green leaves are arranged for feeding sheep and goat. The stray cattle were also fed with feeds. The stray dogs were fed with bread and biscuits. The coordination with CDVO and block relief team is solicited for transport of animal feeds along with relief material to the right areas.
  • Treatment of animals: The affected injured / sick animals and birds has been treated as immediately as possible as per the requirement. The team moved from village to village provides relief and treatment to animals and also educate the people on a quick time on the importance of hygiene, deworming and disease outbreaks. When our team finds stray animals, we always check their health and provide food.
  • Mobile Animal Treatment Teams: The mobile animal treatment teams are formed consisting dedicated and experienced technical workers. The teams are kept stock of medicines, feeds and equipment to work in any adverse situation. These teams are moved from villages to villages provide treatment and relief to affected animals. The mobile treatment team visit regularly the Flood affected areas to treat the sick animals and birds.
  • Control room: The Control Room functioning at the head office, APOWA has been strengthened with for proper monitoring of Flood related activities. The telephone no. of the Control Room has been circulated widely throughout GP representatives, volunteers, members, staffs and the Karuna club members of the District. The staff in charge of Control Room properly records in a register all the telephone calls, rescue calls received along with messages and actions taken thereof. Control room operates 24 hours with roster arrangement.

Help animals in distress:
APOWA teams are still at work providing relief to flood victims. This is an URGENT APPEAL to Support Orissa FLOODS to provide support to the victims of this unprecedented disaster. Please help APOWA Rescue Team for caring about a disaster’s most innocent and defenseless victims — the animals. Animals depend on us. we depend on you. Help us to continue our vital efforts!

Your contribution will help us rescue animals, feed them, and provide them with vet care they so desperately need…your contribution could be the difference between life and death for so many animals.

About APOWA (Action for Protection of Wild Animals):

Formed in April 1999, APOWA is a non-profit animal welfare organization recognized by Animal Welfare Board of India, Govt of India committed to working for the welfare of animal kingdom and the environment every day of every year. APOWA protect animals whenever and wherever they need us. The APOWA is committed to reaching all of the animals suffering the most in the rural villages.

Bijaya Kumar Kabi Director, APOWA


  1. Thank you for all the good you do!
    You are my Heros! Thank you so much for helping these helpless animals and Gods own children. How can I help with the animal rescues? I am a Para vet.

    Rajesh Das

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