Veterinary Emergency Response Unit

 

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Introduction

Large number of natural disasters keep on happening in Himachal Pradesh on account of its geo-climatically and geographical location. Main hazards consist of earthquakes, landslides, flash floods, snow storms and avalanches, draughts, dam failures, fires domestic and wild, accidents road, rail, air, stampedes, boat capsizing, biological, industrial and hazardous chemicals etc. The hazards which however, poses biggest threat to the state are the earthquake, landslides and flash floods and disease epidemics. The state has been shaken by more than 80 times by earthquakes having a magnitude of 4 and above on the Richter Scale as per the recorded history of earthquakes.

 The majority area of district Kangra fall under severest design intensity of MSK IX or more, house types mostly fall under Category A consisting of walls of clay mud, unburnt bricks or random rubble masonry without any earthquake resisting features. Now all such houses are liable to total collapse if intensity IX or more actually occurs in future. One can imagine the status and strength of shelters made for animals. These are even more prone to damage in the event of earthquakes and landslides or flash floods. This could lead to massive causalities in livestock throwing normal veterinary services out of gear, making poor farmers even poorer.

Agriculture contributes over 45% to the net state domestic product. It is the main source of income and employment in Himachal. Over 93% of the population in Himachal depend directly upon agriculture which provides direct employment to 71% of its people. As per economic survey Himachal Pradesh 2019-20, the contribution of major livestock products during the year 2018-19 was 14.6 lakh tonnes of milk, 1503 tonnes of wool, 100.70 million eggs and 4601 tonnes of meat.  So larger stakes are involved in Animal Husbandry.  That is why it is important for us professionals to ensure that this livestock wealth should be protected, propagated so that the state and its people keep on harvesting the benefits. It becomes more important during emergencies when welfare of human being takes the priority. No one then takes care of livestock. It is us who has to come to the front and train the stakeholders, produce professionals to tackle such emergencies, raise awareness and built capacities so that in case of emergencies, loss of livestock life, livestock welfare is taken care of. This would automatically take care of the economy of the state.

 VERU in the state (with major budgetary as well as technical inputs from National Disaster Management Authority and World Animal Protection) act as Regional Training Centre/ Centre of Excellence with a primary task to deliver trainings to different stakeholder on animal specific issues during emergencies and disasters, to train and equip veterinary students, veterinarians, para veterinarians, farmers, communities and other relevant stakeholders so that livestock related emergencies could be managed and handled professionally and efficiently without much losses. This Centre along with professionals in the areas of disaster management help to support, identify and create the expertise in this emerging field and also contribute immensely to build the capacities of the state to deal in the event of future catastrophe.

 

The VERU, Himachal Pradesh brings significant value addition within the veterinary fraternity for effectively building the resiliency of the vulnerable communities in the state.