Sunday, August 22, 2010

Floods may wipe out millions of livestock: UN

The Year of the Flood

ROME: Pakistan's devastating floods have killed or are threatening millions of heads of livestock, the UN food agency warned Friday, launching an urgent appeal for animal feed.
The livestock are "badly in need of food and medicine," the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation said, adding that the floods have affected
intensive livestock farming areas.
Some 200,000 cows, sheep, buffalo, goats and donkeys have already been lost, but the toll will possibly be in the millions including poultry, the FAO said in a statement.
Many animals have died because people have had to abandon them when they were rescued from the floods, it said.
"You can put chickens, goats and sheep in the boat and take them with you, but you can't take a buffalo or a cow," said FAO livestock expert Simon Mack.
Livestock makes up about half of agricultural output in Pakistan, where three weeks of flooding has claimed nearly 1,500 lives and submerged about a fifth of the country -- roughly the size of England.
"The main priority -- and challenge -- is to get feed to those animals," said David Doolan, who heads FAO programmes in Pakistan.
The United Nations has asked for an initial 5.7 million dollars (4.5 million euros) in emergency assistance for livestock, the FAO said.
"We are still trying to get a feel of how much feed is available in country, as much of it has been destroyed. Then we have to transport the feed which is also challenging with so much of the infrastructure damaged," Mack said.

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