Kerala, INDIA—Humane Society International/India, in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry, is providing emergency relief to thousands of animals affected by the devastating floods in the state of Kerala. While the National Disaster Response Force, Indian Army, Air Force and Navy have been deployed to aid people, HSI/India is working alongside them to distribute essential materials to the animals with whom the residents share their lives. The items include nutrient dense fodder for the livestock of pastoral farmers and food for stranded street dogs who would otherwise starve.
India and Nepal have experienced extremely heavy rainfall resulting in landslides and flash floods in multiple locations, with more than 180 people reported dead so far. HSI/India’s animal relief is focusing on Alapuzzha district, one of the four worst affected regions in Kerala where more than 700 families have been impacted, with more than 4,000 cattle needing emergency feed. HSI/India, together with Kerala State Disaster Management authorities, has been circulating posters and videos to residents to raise awareness about animal care before, during and after disasters in the affected areas to decrease the chances of stranded animals starving or drowning in the absence of an evacuation or in-situ care plan.
Praveen Suresh, HSI/India’s manager for disaster response and relief, said: “Animals play a crucial role in the lives of the people affected by the floods in terms of companionship, livelihood as well as being an important part of the ecosystem. It’s heartbreaking to see people and animals suffering like this, so we are grateful to the Kerala authorities for including animal protection in their disaster response and for coordinating with animal protection groups such as HSI/India. The help we are able to provide is making the difference between animals surviving or starving to death, so we will continue to bring whatever help is necessary.”
HSI responds to disasters around the world to assist animals and communities in need. For example, in 2018 HSI stepped in to provide emergency treatment to dogs, cats, chickens, horses and other animals affected by the Volcan de Fuego eruptions in Guatemala, and in 2017 HSI helped more than 6,200 animals affected by deadly earthquakes in Mexico. In India, HSI has responded to the Uttarakhand flash floods in 2013, Chennai floods and Nepal earthquake in 2015, Kerala and Karnataka floods in 2018, 2019 and 2020 in addition to helping animals during the COVID-19 lockdown.