NEW DELHI—Swift action protect animals during disaster can not only prevent their suffering but also help to protect the livelihood of the local people who depend on them. So it is of paramount importance to prepare animal owners and communities in vulnerable regions with specialized training so they can be of use in protecting their animals in an emergency.
In a bid to provide firsthand experience the residents of Nettukuppam village of Thiruvallur district have attended a major simulation exercise on July 26. Livestock owners rehearsed evacuation and saving skills and techniques to protect both their animals and themselves when a disaster strikes.
World Animal Protection’s specialist disaster management team managed the event in the coastal region, which remains vulnerable to cyclones, tsunamis, storm surges and flooding. The exercise is based on a highly successful simulations held by World Animal Protection in Bihar in 2012, and most recently in Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
The simulation exercise was jointly organised by World Animal Protection, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), Chennai.
With the help of Early Warning System, around 50 livestock owners rehearsed evacuation drills moving their animals to designated safe areas, while learning simple techniques to help them protect their animals and themselves when disaster strikes.
Also participating during the exercise was a batch of 130 veterinary students from TANUVAS, who have recently been taught animal handling techniques during emergencies at the Veterinary Emergency Response Unit training.
Conducting regular simulation exercises for managing animals during tsunamis, cyclones and flooding is very important. The coastal regions are vulnerable to such events and local administration at times find it very difficult to evacuate people because they don’t want to leave without their animals. Having plans in place and designated evacuation areas for animals means we can safely relocate both people and their animals in emergencies.
Speaking at the occasion, Gunasekaran, the village leader said: “It is an honour for us to host this drill on managing animals during cyclones. We extend our sincere gratitude to NDRF and the World Animal Protection to have organized this event at our district.
“Animals are a part of our family and we value the lives of animals. We try to provide all the basic needs to them during any kind of disaster. This exercise will help us practice our roles better.””After participating in this exercise I feel I can take better care of my animals in case there is any crisis in our area.”
Speaking about the exercise, Gajender Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection India said: “We extend our sincere gratitude to NDRF and TANUVAS for helping us organise this simulation exercise for management of animals in disaster.
“Such evacuation drills help people practice their roles and responsibilities during emergencies. With the help of this exercise, people learn about preparedness techniques, thus are able to better protect their animals during real emergencies.”
World Animal Protection works around the world to protect animals, whenever and wherever disasters happen. World Animal Protection has saved over 3 million animals in disasters over the last 50 years. We work with people, communities and governments to prepare for disasters and protect their animals in times of crisis.