Myanmar 2011: Building on a strong foundation

A buffalo being looked at by a WSPA vet in disaster stricken Myanmar

WSPA was the first international animal welfare organisation to begin work in Myanmar in the devastating immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Your generosity meant our intervention was able to make a huge impact on animal suffering and community recovery. 

But the people and animals of Myanmar were again challenged when Cyclone Giri struck on 25 October 2010, displacing thousands and making large chunks of land unharvestable again.

Preparation pays

Although Cyclone Giri presents further massive implications for animal welfare and human food security and livelihoods, the early warning systems put in place after Cyclone Nargis minimised the immediate impact on animals – particularly backyard animals like poultry, pigs and goats. More on early warning systems >>

For livestock, times may be harder: feed is a major issue and the WSPA assessment team were particularly concerned that livestock losses may mean the surviving animals would be put back to work twice as hard, without food or shelter.

So WSPA’s Disaster Management Asia Pacific team deployed from India and Bangkok to make a full assessment of the situation before beginning relief and recovery operations. Once armed with the information they needed, work was completed in December 2010. The team provided essential emergency veterinary care and long-term infrastructure development for local vets.

Working where need is greatest

Staff from WSPA’s offices in Thailand and India, together with local veterinary volunteers – part of a Veterinary Emergency Response Unit (VERU) set up by WSPA in Myanmar – were also on the ground in the Myebon and Sittwe (where the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimate that 40 to 50 per cent of the cyclone-hit areas are).

Together we have vaccinated approximately 10,000 cattle and buffalo against foot-and-mouth disease, preventing this very painful and sometime fatal condition and protecting the rural economy.

The team took no chances with Myanmar’s notorious power shortages, taking their own power generator and fridge to prevent the vaccinations’ degradation.

Long-term animal protection

Our Disaster Liaison Officer (DLO) for Myanmar is based at Yangon University, where WSPA continue to train veterinary students in disaster management skills, increasing the local capacity to cope.

The university has received two much-needed kits of surgical equipment, donated by WSPA supporters. These extra kits will have vital and long lasting effects to ensure animal treatments are as kind and effective as possible.

Your support has made this work possible. Please consider a gift to WSPA >>