In Odisha, in east central India, following heavy rains, a huge volume of water has been released from the Hirakud Dam, to try to manage the danger of severe flooding in the area.
Swollen rivers have so far claimed 34 lives, and are affecting one million people, many of whom have been evacuated.
Floodwaters threaten cattle, buffaloes, and other animals. When people are evacuated, their herds of animals are left behind. Cattle are short on food since grazing pastures are covered in water, and there is no shelter for them.
Kailash Ch Maharana, Chairman of the Maitri Club, which sent relief teams to rescue animals in the 2011 floods, has written,
“The flood situation in Odisha could be worse than that of 2011. The release of water from the Hirakud Dam and incessant rain in the catchment areas caused the rivers Mahandi, Bramahani, Baitarani, and their tributaries to swell, further inundating the riverside villages and the adjoining areas.
“The Maitri Club is preparing to dispatch a team of seven experienced personnel with fodder and tarpaulins to help the needy animals. Your support, in any way, will be gratefully received.”
Mahanadi means “great river.” It flows through the Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Before entering Odisha, it is joined by the Hasdeo and the Jonk rivers.
The Hirakud Dam, on the Mahanadi, is the largest earthen dam in the world. It spans 15 miles, from one hill to another, and creates the largest artificial lake in Asia.
Before the dam was built in 1953, the Mahanadi, at its widest, was one mile wide. Now it is narrower and, at certain spots, winds it way through dense forests. It travels over 900 kilometers (560 miles), depositing more silt than any other river in India, creating rich agricultural land.
The river is subject to flooding caused by heavy downpours of rain. In 2011, severe flooding caused great damage to mud huts in 25 villages above the dam.
To contact Kailash Maharana at the Maitri Club, click here to go to their website.
Photo: Soumyadeep Chatterjee / Wikimidia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.” / Mahanadi River, Tikarpara, Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
Our disaster response team is still hard at work conducting emergency rescue and relief efforts for the animals and people affected by cyclone Phailin and the flooding. The havoc didn’t end with the flooding, but another disaster in the form of incessant heavy rain due to low pressure across the Odisha coast since October 22, 2013 has brought flash floods to severely affected coastal districts. This has also hampered recovery and rescue efforts.
We are providing emergency food, water, medical treatment and, just as important, compassionate care to cyclone victim dogs, cats, goats, sheep, donkeys, and cattle. We are working in the worst affected areas of the Ganjam and Kendrapara districts of Odisha state.
October 24, 2013
We traveled to Kalyanipur village in the Kainchapur panchayat of the Ganjam district, one of the areas hardest hit by cyclone Phailin. Over a hundred homes were leveled. The scene, even more than one week after the cyclone, is truly catastrophic.
At Kalyanipur village, Bichi, Mantu, Sukumar and Bijaya pitched in to help with feeding stray dogs, cats and bulls. The animals were very happy to eat. They fed 86 animals in this village. Subhajyoti, Magta, Nimain, and Fakira assisted Dr. Behera and Dr. Piyush, who is a vet with HSI – Asia (Humane Society International), in treating affected animals. By the end of the day, they had treated 91 animals.
October 25, 2013
The APOWA disaster rescue team is continuing to bring food and treatment to affected animals. Our team, which includes two veterinarians and several volunteers, has been working continuously in the affected areas, supporting relief efforts and providing treatment and emergency feeding. Today, we visited Sanakainchapur of Kainchapur panchayat in the Ganjam district. 76 animals were given food and medical care in this village.
October 26, 2013
Today, our team visited Jagannathpur village of Kainchapur panchayat of the Ganjam district to respond to an urgent plea for help. Our rescue team worked long and hard, and were able to provide relief to 133 animals. They were also given a vitamin supplement. The team immediately got to work mixing vitamins and nutritional supplements into the food for the cattle. The team were helped by community volunteers from the village. This was truly an amazing community of animal lovers!
October 27, 2013
Our disaster response team has been working for the last two weeks to provide relief and rescue to the surviving animals. Today, we visited Borigaon village in the Humma panchayat of the Ganjam district. There we worked with our dear friend, Mr. Rabindra Sahu, and volunteers from the Rushikullay Sea Turtle Protection Committee, Ganjam. Our team treated 92 animals for various ailments, like fevers, coughs, and injuries caused by the cyclone and floods.
October 28, 2013
It was another long working day for APOWA’S disaster rescue team in Satrusoul village in the Subalaya panchayat of the Ganjam district. Our team reached 208 cyclone victim animals providing food and medical treatment. This was a tiring day especially for the drivers Subhajyoti and Mantu who had to drive ten hours straight. The drivers’ dedication to APOWA’s mission and to the animals cannot go unmentioned. Nonstop work, loading, walking, and handling animals illustrate what teamwork and love for animals really means.
This disaster makes everything worse for animals that are already hungry and scared; they search for food. It is estimated that thousands of animals, mostly dogs, cats, and cattle were impacted by the cyclone and flood. Many were injured, sick, weak, and suffering from malnutrition. The unspeakable misery of animals cannot be described in words. APOWA has a long history of responding to natural disasters, which happen in Odisha regularly. “We were one of the few animal welfare organizations on the ground in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin,” says Dr. Laxman Behera, veterinarian, who is leading our disaster response team. “Not only have we been rescuing hundreds of animals, but we gave them the food and medical care they needed.”
We are grateful to over 20 volunteers who devote their time and love to help us in our mission to rescue, nurture and provide emergency feeding to cyclone and flood victim animals in Odisha. Mr. Bichitra Biswal, who traveled from the Puri district, is part of a dedicated group of core volunteers who have been helping us since the beginning of the cyclone. We are also mobilizing village volunteers who come forward to help in our relief efforts for animals in their village. They are a terrific group of volunteers and we thank them for all of their hard work and support! It is a great feeling to know that we are making a difference for animals. It has always been and will continue to be all about the animals.
In this precarious situation we would request to all to extend your kind support to continue our life- saving work in areas hit hard by the cyclone and floods.