Cyclone Idai in Malawi
ALL CREATURES team was worked closely with district veterinary officers in a joint veterinary intervention with Humane Society International in response to the tropical Cyclone Idai. This is on record s as one of the worst cyclones in the recent African history! The long-lived storm caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, leaving more than 1,200 people dead, thousands more missing and tens of thousands of animals were also affected by the disaster. Widespread flooding began on 9 March, washing out bridges, roads, and destroying numerous homes. In Malawi, Fourteen (14) districts experienced direct effects from the storm, with Nsanje and Phalombe being hardest-hit. The disaster directly affected 922,900 people nationwide–an estimated 460,000 being children–125,382 of whom were displaced or rendered homeless. A total of 60 people were killed and 577 others were reported injured as a result of flooding. A further three people are reported missing. Information on affected animals is still sparse but it was established that floods swept away thousands of animals in the affected areas.
Surviving animals are sick, injured and starving. Many animal owners only had one option, to save themselves and their families, so animals were left to fend for themselves. It is the stray, confused and stranded animals that had been abandoned by their fleeing owners that our team went ahead to support. The stranded animals were at risk of developing deadly diseases from parasites and various waterborne ailments. Animals trapped in dirty water for prolonged periods are also risk developing other painful conditions such as foot rot and lung infections.
"The floods in these areas may have longer lasting effects on animals, especially with regard to disease incidences and khola destructions." Dr Edwin Nkhulungo (State Vet)
A team of five (5) personnel went for a three weeks mission led by Dr Tichaona to carry out the much needed intervention to save the animal victims of the Cyclone (floods). The target area (Chigumukile, Khoncha, Ntambula, Namphepo & Magololo) was the whole of Phalombe and nearly 71.4% of the planned areas were covered during the implementation. Animals received attention ranging from lumpy skin vaccination, oxytetracycline shots (those that needed it), ivermectin (dewormer), Newcastle vaccine (poultry), alamycin sprays (wounds), rabies vaccinations (dogs) and albendazole drenches, especially for the calves.
We tried to distribute the medicine so that each animal will receive one or more on those according to the necessities of the animal. All the farmers were happy and the general response, of such initiatives and intervention was positive. Stats: Cattle (5 620); Goats (4 906); Sheep (162); Pigs (53); Dogs (674), Cats (78); Ducks (4); Chickens (850); Total number of animals = 12,347