Sujan Dhungana, The Kathmandu Post, 20 Aug 2017
The recent floods in different parts of the Tarai have not only disrupted human lives and settlements but also claimed the lives of thousands of livestock.
As per the preliminary report of the government, more than 69,617 livestock, including goats, buffaloes, chickens and pigs, have been killed across the country’s low-belt areas so far. However, the livestock death toll is believed to be far more than the aforementioned statistics as it excludes the post-disaster livestock situation of various areas where the government’s rescue and inspection team has not reached yet.
Similarly, thousands of livestock have been injured or lost, which the government has not been able to take into account as the water level in a majority of the Tarai districts is yet to recede.
As per the statistics prepared by the Ministry of Livestock Development (MoLD), the monsoon disaster this year has claimed more than 66,156 chickens across different poultry farms in flood-affected Tarai districts. The floods swept away a number of poultry farms in Bardia, Sunsari, Morang, Saptari, Jhapa, Rasuwa, Bara and Kailali districts, according to MoLD.
Similarly, the recent floods also claimed more than 622 pigs, 26 buffaloes and 69 cows/oxen in the flood-hit districts. Likewise, more than 2,744 goats have been killed in the floods that have wreaked havoc in the Tarai districts since almost a week. The floods have also destroyed a huge amount of animal feed and a number of animal sheds in different Tarai districts, according to MoLD officials.
Though MoLD officials have claimed that livestock losses due to the recent floods across the country’s low-lying areas amount to billions, the government is yet to calculate the actual amount of livestock losses in terms of monetary value.
Meanwhile, MoLD has deployed its regional and local level teams to all flood-affected districts to collect the livestock loss data and to rescue and rehabilitate affected livestock.
“As the water level has not abated in the Tarai, we are currently focusing on relief, rescue and rehabilitation of livestock,” said MoLD Joint-Secretary Shyam Prasad Poudyal, adding that separate teams of experts have been deployed to rehabilitate injured livestock and properly dispose dead livestock across the affected regions to prevent the spread of diseases.
On top of that, MoLD is also gearing up to introduce different packages to facilitate livestock farmers affected by the recent floods. Besides the loss in livestock, the disaster this year has also destroyed agriculture crops worth more that Rs eight billion, as per the preliminary estimate of Ministry of Agricultural Development.