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ensuring the people and their animals of Leh, Kashmir survive minus 30 degree winter.
The humanitarian agency SPHERE has recently identified and highlighted the fact that animal welfare and protecting the livestock of rural communities (both before and after disasters) is crucial to the survival of those devastated communities.
In light of this, SPHERE India asked WSPA to contribute our animal welfare expertise and leadership following the flash flooding and mud slides in Leh, Kashmir caused by heavy monsoon rains. This is the first time WSPA and SPHERE have collaborated and it is proving to be an extremely successful partnership –clearly illustrating just how vital animals are to rural communities.
On 05 and 06 August this year 179 people and 1,441 animals – including cattle, dzo, donkeys, Sheep and Goats were tragically lost.
In addition to this tragic human and animal loss, the region’s agricultural land and infrastructure – including hundred’s of homes and vital bridges – were also destroyed.
As well as the deaths, the water and mud slides ruined or washed away at least 20 per cent of the feed and fodder that had been put aside for the animals to live on through the Kashmir winter months of October to February, when temperatures can drop to below -30 degrees Celsius. This devastation has affected at least 23 villages; villages that rear and depend on nearly 14,000 livestock.
As a result, without immediate aid, many, many more of these already stressed animals will die from foot and mouth disease, starvation and the cold.
The Punjab Regional Government’s Department of Animal Husbandry has agreed to provide nearly 10,000 tonnes of cattle fodder and concentrated feed. Working with member society Jeevashram, WSPA is hoping to provide the remaining shortfall of 100 tonnes, as well as vaccination programmes to help the animals survive the winter. Working with SPHERE India, WSPA will also help prepare the communities for the future putting in place disaster preparedness measures for this winter.