Malawi flooding brings threat of disease to animals and communities
In Chikwawa, Malawi, where communities have been devastated by heavy rain, we're supplying medication and vet treatment to over a hundred thousand animals.
During December 2014 and January 2015, between an exceptionally heavy rainfall and Cyclone Chedza, communities and animals in Malawi were devastated, especially in the south of the country.
On January 13th, the President of Malawi declared a State of Disaster in 15 affected districts (of a total 28).
In Malawi, animals are mostly free range, so thankfully many were able to escape to higher ground when they sensed the floods coming.
But the rain has left behind a huge number of animal health problems, including pneumonia, wounds, lumpy skin disease and mastitis and foot rot, caused by water-logged soil. An estimated 37% of animals (355,000 out of 947,000) in poor farming households in Chikwawa have succumbed to disease as a result of the floods.
We have been asked by Malawi's Director of Veterinary Services to help communities and their animals in the Chikwawa region - working alongside the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, as well as the Chikwawa District Veterinary Officer.
Over the next two weeks, we'll be providing drugs, dewormers, vaccines and vet supplies to directly treat 111,840 animals. That's 21,240 cattle, 90,000 chickens, 500 goats and 100 dogs. We're hoping to benefit nearly 2,500 households who have cattle and 7,500 who have chickens.
Many families in Chikwawa rely on the health of their animals to feed themselves and to pay for school fees and medical treatment. So helping their animals will be key to their recovery.