Doesn’t it seem like the news this year has segued from the earthquake in Haiti to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the floods in Pakistan without stopping to take a breath? It’s true that I don’t expect to hear good news when I turn on CNN, but it does make you wonder what could possibly happen next. And how bad things could possibly get.
The images from Pakistan are so disturbing, and of course the television crews can’t even get to the most remote and rural areas. As I watched the footage, I wondered how they could ever get help to the animals, and where the animals would fall on the scale of importance when so many human lives are at stake.
That said, I also know that the survival of the animals is critical to the survival of the people. They will need horses to rebuild anything that is to rebuilt. I also know that there has always been one charity that has has a veterinary base in Pakistan, where it has been helping horses. Did they survive the floods, I wondered?
This week The Brooke, the international horse charity, launched an emergency appeal for their work on behalf of thousands of horses and donkeys affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan.
Around 75,000 horses and donkeys are thought to have been affected by the floods – which are the worst in 80 years – in one province alone.
This number is expected to rise sharply as flooding continues. It’s expected that food will not be easily accessible for at least six months, which could result in widespread starvation.
The Brooke has been operating in Pakistan as equine veterinary advisors since 1991 and already has teams operating in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Sindh provinces of Pakistan. They are now providing emergency treatment, vaccinations, fodder and clean water for horses and donkeys, as well as other animals in desperate need.
Maintaining the health and welfare of horses, donkeys and mules is paramount at this time in order to help vulnerable families rebuild their lives and support themselves for the long term.
“We are the only organization specifically helping horses and donkeys at this time, so the need for our services is extremely high,” said Mohammad Farooq Malik, Brooke’s Pakistan Chief Executive. “Every day that goes by, more horses and donkeys will be at risk of dehydration, starvation, respiratory problems and water-borne diseases. We are doing everything we can to reach as many animals as possible.
“We’re also working closely with our partner organizations and local governments to offer our expertise in equine care and to support relief activities,” he concluded.
The Brooke has treated and vaccinated almost 2,000 horses, donkeys and other animals in need so far. Teams are also teaching animal owners crucial first aid skills so they can help their animals and prevent disease outbreak.
The Brooke is aiming to reach around 5,000 horses, donkeys and other animals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh Provinces over the next few weeks.
The Brooke estimates that for a donation of about $75, they can vaccinate 130 donkeys and horses against tetanus, which is a great risk in the flood zone.
This project of The Brooke is an outgrowth of the charity’s original hospital for working horses in Cairo, Egypt. This is one charity that knows how to put veterinarians with critical local language skills and cultural awareness in the disaster zone to have the most chance of success. I’ve seen them succeed before.
More information, photos and a donation site are all online at www.thebrooke.org/pakistanfloods