It’s full steam ahead in Vietnam, where we have finished assessing the situation and secured the money to start repairing the damage caused by the floods. Floodwater has destroyed stockpiles of animal feed, washed away a lot of veterinary equipment and medication and damaged animal shelters. People, struggling to cope, have put their animals back to work immediately – without being able to give them food or shelter.
So we’re going to be feeding 600 cattle and buffalo, 750 pigs, repairing 550 animal shelters and supplying vet equipment to the Tan Hoa commune - a rural community in north east Vietnam. We’ll deliver the feed in two instalments, to avoid spoiling, and we’ll equip the local vets working there. The authorities will oversee the distribution of feed to ensure that supply doesn’t affect market prices.
The good news from Indonesia is that Mount Merapi has stopped erupting for now. The area remains on high alert, though, and in the three most affected areas evacuations are ongoing – not because of eruptions but because homes and villages have been destroyed. These evacuations include some animals; a joint effort from our member society Profauna and the Indonesian authorities.
We’ve given Profauna funds for cattle feed, animal shelters, medication and the evacuation effort, and they’re already hard at work. Another animal agency has given them money, too.
In Myanmar, where people and animals are recovering from Cyclone Giri, large chunks of land have become unharvestable. In fact, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said 40 to 50 per cent of the cyclone-hit area is in this state.
This has huge implications for food security and livelihoods, but the good news is that the early warning system (which we helped establish in the aftermath of 2008’s Cyclone Nargis) has minimised the immediate impact on humans and animals – particularly backyard animals like poultry, pigs and goats.
For livestock – tougher to evacuate quickly – times may be a bit harder: feed is, as always, a major issue, and the assessment team will be particularly interested in investigating livestock losses and the related danger that surviving animals will be put back to work twice as hard to make up the shortfall, without food or shelter.
WSPA staff from the Indian office will leave for Myanmar next Wednesday. They’ll be making a full assessment of the situation, focusing mainly on livestock.
Our Disaster Liaison Officer (DLO) for Mynmar is based at Yangon University, which will soon receive two kits of surgical equipment donated by a WSPA supporter.
Monica, an anaesthetist from Germany, gave the kits to our Germany office when they were no longer needed at the hospital at which she works. The German office will pass them on to Yangon, where funds to buy equipment are very limited. We’re training veterinary students at Yangon in disaster management skills, increasing the local capacity to cope, so extra kit will have long lasting effects.