“The sky was red in colour and it took just two minutes to change our entire life.”
WSPA’s disaster assessment and response team (DART) arrived in Orissa just days after the area was ravaged by a tornado in March 2009. They found whole communities suffering the aftermath.
Here, people are reliant on their cattle, goats and buffalo. Animals are the backbone of the local economy and provide food and transport.
Working with humanitarian counterparts, WSPA’s DART visited affected villages.
Dr Sutar, WSPA’s India-based Disaster Response Team Leader, shares survivor’s tales from the village of Baghabuda.
Bhagirathi Jena: “When the DART arrived Bhagirathi Jena approached us to tell his story. He explained, ‘the sky was red in color and it took just two minutes to change our entire life.’ He showed us his smashed house and told us there had been no aid for animals from the day of the tornado, although he did get a home kit from a humanitarian NGO. His animals were standing without any shelter. He was devastated.”
Kashalya: “This old lady’s tears told her story. She said, ‘We are poor people. That day took away everything. I have nine family members in my house – we all are on streets today. Look at my cattle. They have had no feed or clear water since that day. Look at their wounds. They have no place to stay.’ As she showed us her ruined cattle shed she explained that one of her four cows had died. She asked for our help to shelter and feed her remaining cattle.”
Surekha Pareda: “Before the tornado Surekha Pareda, a lady of around 70 years, had owned a prosperous cowshed. But now her pregnant cow is seriously injured, suffering from a hip joint fracture. Surekha told us that the concrete wall of her house and fallen on the earthen cowshed – the injured animal was under the wall for a whole night before being rescued and has been unable to move since. She needed help.”
The generosity of WSPA supporters allowed our team to work with local people and the Chief District Veterinary Officer to identify the areas of greatest immediate need.
With US$10,000, WSPA provided:
Enough tarpaulins and bamboo to build 600 shelters, housing up to four animals each
Large quantities of concentrated animal feed to boost the nutrition and immune systems of 2,000 vulnerable working animals
Help in clearing debris and remove animal carcasses, reducing the risk of disease for surviving animals.
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