BBC News reports that more than two million people in India have been affected by monstrous floods as torrential rains lash the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states. In the coastal region of Orissa alone, 10 districts deluged by the monsoon are now drowning under the weight of three rivers. And while helicopters are dropping food for the humans, there is one mighty team working day and night to save the animals of flood-ravaged India.
Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA) has been traveling by boat and by boot to the hardest hit areas in a desperate attempt to relieve the suffering of the animals there. The team, which includes veterinarians and volunteers, has been providing emergency food, veterinary treatment and repair of damaged animal shelters. They’re distributing hundreds of bags of food for cattle, goats and dogs.
“Here around ninety percent of animal shelters, made with thatched houses, have completely collapsed,” explains APOWA Director Bijaya Kumar Kabi. ”Temporary shelters are now essential for flood victims.”
“Our vet doctors are finding diarrhea, anorexia, respiratory problems, hoof rot and mineral deficiency in the animals,” Bijaya continues. ”We can’t stop now, even as our own office and shelter house are under threat from flash floods.”
For some villages, the rescuers from APOWA are the very first aid they’ve seen, even though we’re now two weeks into the disaster. Having been a part of emergency relief operations in Latin America, I am all too familiar with this scenario. You truly can’t imagine what it’s like to hand a family a 40 pound sack of dog food knowing that the adults and their children are likely to eat the kibble alongside their pets because they can’t bear the endless wait for help from relief agencies. To watch animals slowly die of starvation and diarrhea, well, it leaves a scar that never heals and while I can’t be in India this week to help with my own two hands, I do believe there’s something equally significant I can do to help.
As founder of the Harmony Fund international animal rescue charity, I’m asking for your support for APOWA’s powerful rescue efforts in India. 100 percent of the donations we receive over the next 72 hours will be exclusively restricted for the animal rescue efforts in India. Every dollar that comes in will go toward the purchase of veterinary medicines, food and materials to put up temporary animal shelters to replace the ones that have been washed away. This is not a crisis that will pass this week or this month. Recovery will take a very long time and I ask you to please look at the photos I’ve posted here and decide for yourself if you’d like to lend a hand. Donate here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.