25 October 2022

Brooke Pakistan responds to disastrous floods

Brooke Pakistan has now reached over 11,000 horses, donkeys and mules, providing emergency treatment, feed and health advice.

The recent flooding in Pakistan has had a disastrous effect, with the country now reporting that over 1,700 have died, with over 20 million people still requiring humanitarian assistance. It is now believed that over one million livestock animals have been killed, many of them likely to be working horses, donkeys and mules. Our thoughts are with the animals and people affected. Thankfully, none of our staff were harmed.

Animals and their owners are under extreme stress due to the crisis. Working horses and donkeys, who in normal times would be supporting other livestock, helped farmers evacuate overnight as flood warnings were announced.

Based on the estimated number of horses, donkeys and mules in the 14 districts we work in, potentially over 600,000 equine animals could be affected.

The main issues faced by animals and their owners are lack of access to clean drinking water and food, as well as shade and shelters. Almost all brick kilns, which have large numbers of horses, donkeys and mules, are now under water, meaning work has stopped and may not return for months, especially as fuel stocks for the furnaces have been destroyed. This means wages for the workers stop, and people will struggle to afford to feed themselves, let alone their animals.

Thanks to our committed supporters, Brooke teams have been able to quickly set up flood relief camps in regions across Sindh, South Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces. Mobile units have been travelling to different locations across the regions. They have provided food and fodder for animals to eat straight away, as well as rations for the medium-long term. Teams are also providing treatment for injured and sick animals, who are under immense pressure and working even harder to help their owners.

This is an emergency for everyone, so the teams are also providing people with food rations where possible, and helping to feed and treat their other livestock such as sheep, goats, cows and buffalos.

As of the end of October Brooke Pakistan have helped 11,077 horses, donkeys and mules, out of which 6,990 were provided treatment and 10,141 were given bags of feed so far. They have also provided human food rations for 3,064 equine owners.

Although the floods are now subsiding, the teams have faced other problems whilst delivering their emergency supplies and treatments which are likely to continue for some time:

  • Contaminated water, mosquitos and flies are a growing concern as huge risks of spreading disease at an already difficult time. Brooke Pakistan’s partner SRSO are providing nets, and communities were shown how to use the smoke created by burning neem tree leaves, to try to ward off mosquitos. They have also been providing clean water supplies where possible.
  • Teams have been working at night, and power outages have meant treatments have sometimes been done by torchlight or headlights from vehicles.
  • Over 13,000km of roads are flooded or damaged, meaning it is taking longer to reach affected communities. In some cases, strong enough horses and donkeys have helped transport vital supplies for other animals

Brooke Pakistan predict that they will be phasing up their efforts over the next three months, but full recovery for horse and donkey owning communities will take much longer.

This story is developing and more updates will be added as we learn more.