Following the devastating floods in Pakistan a year ago, animal welfare organization the Brooke, is continuing to help working horses, donkeys and mules, as they play a vital role in rebuilding the country.
The Brooke treated more than 10,000 equine animals in the immediate aftermath of the floods and provided fodder, drinking water, veterinary treatment and vaccinations – safeguarding people’s livelihoods for the future. Most animals were suffering from hunger, dehydration, stress, respiratory disorders, skin and foot problems.
“We were the only organisation specifically helping horses and donkeys at the time. The need for our services was extremely high. We rushed to help the working horses, donkeys and mules affected by the floods and have been helping them ever since,” said Mohammad Farooq Malik, Chief Executive for Brooke Pakistan.
Reconstruction is well underway, placing increased pressure on the hundreds of thousands of equine animals, particularly donkeys working in the country’s brick kilns.
Mariyum Bibi Pannah*, 45, lost virtually everything in the floods, including her husband. In a desperate bid to support her family she moved to Jacobabad to find work in a brick kiln. Due to a lack of grazing land Mariyum Bibi’s donkeys were forced to eat anything they came across, leading to serious health problems.
“Last year’s floods destroyed everything, my house, my husband and my city. The only thing left were my children and my hopes for survival. In all my struggles the Brooke has helped me. They took care of my donkeys and told me the way to take best care of them. Now I am happy I am earning to feed me, my children and my animals”, said Mariyum Bibi”.
It is estimated the floods destroyed over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of fodder crops and prices for feed rocketed, making it difficult for owners to feed their animals.
The Brooke has continued to work closely with animal owners to offer long term support. It is providing veterinary treatment and helping owners prevent disease and prepare for emergencies.
“After the floods, the Brooke worked to strengthen local animal welfare provision, training community-based animal health workers, farriers and veterinary service providers to deliver services. As the monsoon season approaches once again, the Brooke is advising owners how to look after their animals when floods are forecast,” says Dr Rab Nawaz, Brooke Veterinary Officer.