YARMOUTH PORT, Mass., Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The heavy monsoon rains that have battered South Asia for weeks has caused widespread flooding and left millions of people and animals displaced. In response to the disaster, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) initiated relief operations in southern Pakistan and eastern India, two areas that have borne the brunt of the incessant rains of recent weeks.
"Thousands of animals have been left out in the open under the rain or in the scorching sun with no help at all," said Dr. Dick Green IFAW Manager for Disasters. "Our main goal right now is to get food into the hardest-hit areas as quickly as possible."
In Pakistan, the rains have caused widespread flooding primarily in the southern province of Sindh affecting over 5 million people. The Government of Pakistan announced that 64,000 animals had perished during the bad weather; however, media reports indicate that over half a million animals including cattle, water buffaloes, horses, donkeys, goats and sheep may have already died and countless more remain vulnerable to starvation and disease outbreaks. Millions of flood victims are entirely dependent on the upcoming harvest season and animals play a vital role by plowing the fields.
Pirabhu Lal, a 31 year-old peasant lost his home during the floods and took refuge with his family in a nearby farm. "I have three children and 21 animals left, I lost my five goats. We have no drinking water, no toilet, no firewood. My wife and children have malaria and I spend all day in search for food for the family and my animals. My wife walks three miles to collect some drinking water for the family and animals."
Like with the floods of 2010, IFAW has partnered again with local humanitarian group Ravi Foundation to conduct assessments and initiate relief operations in Pakistan.
Elsewhere, in India's eastern state of Orissa, the monsoon floods have already claimed at least 41 human lives and 2.2 million people are still marooned in coastal areas. IFAW is working with local partner Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to initiate a relief operation that is distributing feed and providing veterinary assistance to thousands of impacted animals.
"Our flood relief team is reaching out to remote and cut off villages in the most affected areas," said Dr. NVK Ashraf, Chief Veterinarian, WTI. "Most of the animals brought to the health camps are very weak and they have lost their body condition to starvation. High incidents of respiratory ailments and diarrhea are being reported."
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Images are available at www.ifawimages.com.
SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare