Flood effects on Livestock in India

The Flood Effects and Response in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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The recent floods have caused huge losses to human lives as well as to human belongings. The flood has badly affected the dairy potential pockets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about 0.15 millions of animals and 0.8 million poultry have been perished in the terrible waves of this July monsoon floods. In the paper floods effects and damages in the context of agriculture and livestock have been discussed. After the flood quick response to save the stranded, feed deprived and disease prone animals was of utmost importance.

Department of Livestock and dairy Development (Extension) KP tried its best to combat the situation but the catastrophe was so huge that it was impossible for government to cope with such large scale sufferings. LTC in joint collaboration with AUP and IC (Intercooperation)arrange demergency response team and covered up to 23 villages in three districts.

The emergency response is followed by rehabilitation in the areas in which interventions have been mentioned and identified for implementation. The focus is being given on the quality of animal keeping rather than quantity. The rehabilitation phase is followed by reconstruction where the areas of focus werethe development of enterprises and entrepreneurships. Issues like animal loss, animal health, subsistence farming and energy crisis etc and recommendations with their possible impacts are also discussed in this paper.

Key words: Flood, Rehabilitation, damage, productivity, reconstruction and subsistence farming


Livestock plays a vital role in the national economy which accounts 53.4%of the agriculture value added and 11.7% of the total GDP. The growth rate in livestock sector was 4.1% as compared to previous year 3.8% (Economic survey of Pakistan 2009-2010). The role of livestock in the rural economy may be realized from the fact that 30-35 million of the rural population is involved in livestock raising, having household holdings of 2-3 cattle/buffalo and 5-6 sheep/goat per family which help them to drive 30-40 % of their income from it.

Livestock farming is a dominant occupation of the farming community with more than 15 million animal heads and more than 22 million poultry in KPK.

"Livestock in this country are the poor people's ATM. In good times people build up their herds and in bad times they sell livestock to generate cash" (David Doolan FAO).


Nature is not free of calamities that can affect both human as well animal's life. One of the recent calamities, the flood, which has hit the whole country in general and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular, it is one of the worst catastrophes experienced so far by the country. Its magnitude can be expressed as one full year of rainfall has fallen over Pakistan in just a few days that had not happened in 80 years. This occurred all of a sudden and people were not ready to face and tried to escape to safe places leaving all their belongings including animals etc behind on the mercy of flood water. In KP Peshawar, Mowshehra, Charsada, Swat, Dir, Shangla, Kohistan, Kohat and DI Khan,were severely affected while Chitral, Mansehra, Mardan, Bannu were moderately flooded.

In these areas livelihood of people primarily depend on livestock keeping. Livestock is an invaluable asset for rural families in term of milk, meat, draught power and as a source of household's income. According to preliminary Rapid Damage Assessment by Agriculture Clusters FAO Pakistan the current flood in 12 out of 15 districts of KPK have been put to Rs. 8.6 billion loss. About 105042 livestock heads perished in the flood while 739429 farm animals were indirectly affected in the province.

Among those animals who survived are threatened by non-availability of feed and shelter. Like other agricultural crops, fodder fields have been completely destroyed. Stocks of wheat straw, hay and feed have been washed away.

These feed deprived and shelter less animals have been stressed so severely that there immune status is questionable and this why they are at high risk to contract contagious diseases. Outbreaks of fatal diseases such as Hemorrhagic Septicemia (HS), Black Quarter (BQ) and others would soon appear in the said areas which will further aggravate the death toll of livestock.

Flood effects

- Losses to human lives

The recent floods was so instant that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa above 1600 precious human lives have been perished in the terrible flood while there are so many cases where the family members are missing since the flood days, may be died while fighting in the deluge for their life and belongings.

- Severe Damages to all infrastructure

16 districts in KP are severely affected in the flood where the basic infrastructure i.e. roads, hospitals, schools and other public offices have been badly damaged.

- Losses of crops

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the other worse affected sector is Agriculture. Standing crops like maize and sugar cane have been flushed away in the flood. Cash crops like vegetables and tobacco have been badly affected and destroyed that aggravated the sufferings of the poor farming community. In KP according to damage assessment total 191,020 hectares of standing crops in which sugar cane 41,986 hac: Rice 36,542 hac: maize 92,206 hac, pulses 6,807, summer vegetables 8,137 and orchards 4,745 hectares have been perished in the recent Monsoon floods.

- Losses to livestock

According to the damage assessment report (Agriculture Cluster FAO) total direct livestock loss in Khyber Pakhtunkhwais 105042 which is the highest figure among provinces of the country affected in flood. Besides this a large number of poultry 739429 has been perished in the flood. The indirect losses are more which badly affected the livelihood of inhabitants of the province.

Direct losses

- Dead animals

According to the estimates of Department of Livestock & Dairy Development (Extension) total number of animals died in KP due to the recent flood is 141189.

- Shelter damages

The damages to animal shelters and animal houses are 891 which may be increased if partially damaged shelters are included.

- Fodders losses

The green fodder availability in KP is always a main concern for farmers. The province is already deficient in green fodder and the flood further aggravated the situation. According to the estimate of the L&DD Department about 5007 tons dried fodder, 8125 hectares of green fodder and 202 tons of concentrates have been washed away or badly affected by the flood. Thus the already nutritive deficient animals are facing scarcity like situation. The floods also washed away the fodder seeds and made the fertile lands non-cultivatable due sludge accumulation.

Indirect losses

Effects on Animal health

These feed deprived and shelter less animals have been stressed so severely that there immune status is questionable and this why they are at high risk to contract contagious diseases. Outbreaks of fatal diseases such as Hemorrhagic Septicemia (HS), Black Quarter (BQ) and others would soon appear in the said areas which will further aggravate the death toll of livestock.

- Effects on production
According to the preliminary assessment of L&DD Department KP the production losses were estimated as 1518.08 million in form of milk,63.29 Million in form of meat while in poultry the production losses are as 41.42 Million and 138.47 million in terms of eggs and meat respectively.

- Total Losses

The total losses of assets and income is 5344.98 million and 1761.26 million respectively in livestock sector in KP

Response to flood

Pakistani nation is a determined nation and they have proved themselves in every time of trouble whenever there are natural or man-made calamities. This time they also proved themselves by saving the human lives, providing food, shelters, medication & vaccination, and even took care of the animals. The recent flooding was so huge that it was out of the reach of the people but still every individual Pakistani contributed to this noble cause in the form of self-services as well financial assistance for the flood victims to relieve human sufferings and show solidarity with them.

Emergency response

- Departmental

The Department of Livestock & Dairy development (Extension) KP has played a vital role in the recent flood. They tried their best to reach the flood victims in time of trouble but the disaster was so huge that it was out of their capacity. Anyhow they still performed their job superb and provided medication & vaccination as well animal feed to help flood affected people.


As an immediate emergency response to the above situation, prophylactic vaccination, treatment of sick animals and provision of feed and shelter to the survived animals is required. The livestock departments are doing their best to this purpose. But the catastrophe is so severe and wide spread that it has exceeded the combined capacity of any government, organization and people. The situation therefore appeals for individual efforts to join hands and help reduce the human and animal sufferings. It was with this spirit and motivation that LTC Peshawar approached the Dean FAHVS, AUP for joining hands in the relief campaign. The idea was discussed with the Vice Chancellor who placed all possible resources at their disposal to facilitate their mobility and action plan. A group of final year DVM students of Animal Health Department of AUP determined to reach the survived livestock stranded in the flood in Peshawar, Nowshehra and Charsadda districts. Thus the team comprising students, faculty members and professional staff of LTC was strong enough to respond to the emergency help of suffering livestock in three districts. Financial help by Intercooperation Pakistan, Peshawar office enabled the team feed for the survived animals.

- In 10 days Relief activity the team visited almost 23 villages in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshehra and provided prophylactic measures to 4528 cattle and buffaloes and health coverage to 1268 animals. They also provided animal feed in form of concentrates to 180 farmers.


The recent flood has caused unprecedented losses to the people of the flood affected areas in the form of human, livestock, fodders, shelters etc that has put the people into trouble. Now it is the sole responsibility of this nation to rehabilitate the calamity stricken people. For the rehabilitation process, an orchestrated strategy should be chalk out to avoid the misuse and to ensure the appropriate use of scarce resources Livestock being the main stay of livelihood of the people of these areas have been severely lost but still there is enough livestock to fill the gap provided that if quality is focused. The game of animals restocking should be strongly discouraged because keeping a few heads of highly producing animals is better than keeping more heads of low productive animals.

The existing animals are already a burden on the available resources and we are fodder deficient. If restocking of animals is exercised it will put pressure on the available resources and will result in resource depletion. It would be better to improve the potential of the existing animals through improvement in management which will result which will result in quality animals and ultimately the livestock will develop on scientific lines. The existing animals  are stressed severely which has bad effects on animal health therefore prophylactic measures should be given due coverage to protect the animals against contagious and fatal diseases. Besides this compensation for the shelter damages will help alleviate financial sufferings of the flood victims to restore their homes and to renew their lives.

Agriculture in the area has been flooded therefore compensation for the improved seed varieties and fertilizer could be an encouraging move to revive the agro farming in the area. The people also suffered mentally therefore it is of utmost importance to refresh their knowledge and build their capacities in every sector of life in order to develop entrepreneurship in the areas. These interventions will not only rehabilitate the people but will increase their income that would bolster up economic development in the country in general and in the said areas in particular.


The aftermath of every calamity is treating in the same way and we are expending a lot of resources just for nothing. Being a nation we are not taking into account the future growth and sustainability of any activity and this is why development in our society in real sense is highly sluggish. This time we must envision and plan differently so as to convert this "Adversary into an opportunity". This is possible only if we put aside our own priorities and take into account the national interests. The provision of relief in the form of money or animals etc has made our people beggars and now this is bolstering dependency syndrome at a higher rate. This is clear from the fact that people demand inputs from the NGO's, donors and they are not interested in their development. This dependency syndrome should be strongly discouraged and best possible efforts should be made to encourage entrepreneurship and enterprise development in every sector of life.
Pakistan being an agricultural country about 67% of its population residing in the rural areas is depending for their livelihood on it. Unfortunately this country is not exercising the agricultural reforms to keep on board the small and medium farmers to develop this sector on scientific lines. The division of land from generation to generation is making it hard for the small farmers to sustain agrolivestock farming. 94% farms are below the average of 5 hectares constituting subsistence farm level. One of the best solution to this scenario could be the Corporate Farming to sustain these subsistence farmers and to develop enterprises on mass scale. This would be an encouraging step for our farmers to get maximum return while putting their meager resources by joining hands together.

Livestock and agriculture are integrated activities and that the development of agro-livestock farming in the areas will help alleviate the poverty and will augment the process of reconstruction. Entrepreneurship should be strengthened in every sector of life in order to provide the affected people an income generating opportunity and to create a market oriented venture. A more inspiring idea for the dairy rich pockets is the development of "dairy science park". The implementation of this idea on real ground would prove an income generating activity that will enhance the productivity of the livestock in these areas because this dairy Park will provide a hub of dairy where researchers, dairy producers and dairy products processers will get together and will join hands for better growth and benefits.

The development of the dairy science park will not only increase the productivity of the animals but will also explore employment opportunities at all level. In the reconstruction phase resources should be used wisely and in a cost effective manner in order to bring prosperity and to augment the process of economic development in these areas. On the other hand if this deplorable situation was handled like the previous failed modules of other disasters, definitely it will lead us to a disastrous end.


Thick analysis of the flood damages and existing farming, it was revealed that the livestock is a main livelihood mean for the poor farming community was already at a risk due to high inflation, lack of modern animal husbandry practices, developed natural resources and the recent floods further augmented the sufferings of the livestock farmers particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The issues and bottlenecks pre and post flood and their remedial measures with possible impacts are elaborated as

Animal loss:

although the easiest way to solve the problem is restocking but in present circumstances it is not feasible as the flood affected mostly the livestock potential pockets throughout the country. To combat this problem
focus should be given to production rather to the number of animals. The extension education especially in livestock management should be promulgated.
Possible Impact: The productivity of existing livestock is enhanced and the number of non-productive and low productive animals are decreased.

Animal Shelter loss:


The farmers may be compensated in the form of cash like "Smart Card" etc but the compensation should be conditional with adoption of modern animal husbandry techniques.

Possible Impact: the farmers are enabled to reconstruct their damaged animal Houses on scientific lines that led to increase in productivity and replication in the area.

Subsistence farming

Recommendation: The issue of subsistence farming can be combated if corporate farming is adopted in the potential pockets of the province. For this purpose government can frame laws if not available and organization from social sectors may contribute in farmer's awareness and development.

Possible Impact: small farmers started corporate farming that has synergistic effect on profit and farmers income.

Lack of Enterprises in Dairy and Beef:

: The public and private partnership should come forward to develop new enterprises and focus should be given to existing traditional farming that can be converted to enterprises.

Energy Crisis:

Energy crisis in the whole word in general and in this country in particular created great concerns in the farming community. To combat the situation methane production plants like Biogas plants should be installed at dairy farms.

Possible Impact: The farmers are getting energy from waste products like manure, fodders etc and saved their expenditure for electricity and fuel. It also discouraged the deforestation practices.

Lack of entrepreneurship:

The joint venture of academia, line agencies, public and private companies, various NGOs and farmers associations should encourage the development of entrepreneurships in dairy and beef sector.

Possible Impact:
Economic activities have been started and more revenue has been generated.


1- GhulamHabib and Zakir Hussain "report on emergency response in flood affected areas"
2- Preliminary assessment of flood damages L&DD(Extension) KP Peshawar
3- "Preliminary Rapid Damage Assessment in the Agriculture Sector for flood affected areas Pakistan" by Agriculture Cluster FAO
4- SherZareenChitrali (NRSP KPK) "Rapid Assessment of Flood Areas in District Chrsadda"
5- "Rapid Assessment of Flood Impact on the Environment in Selected Areas of Pakistan" PWP & UNDP Pakistan


April 7, 2011
It is a good appraisal of unheard and unseen disaster faced by the farmers by KPK. Vigilant policy makers always learn lessons from such episodes so that next episode may be less disastrous.
Credit goes to Dr qureshi and his team that he documented and appraised this disaster.
I hope the policy makers will not read it and file it but will base their future policies for disaster management keeping in view what Dr Qureshi and his team pointed out in this paper
Arshaq Ramzee Arshaq Ramzee
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
April 7, 2011
Dr. Qureshi and his co-authors deserve all the praise to bring into light of the cost of devastating floods not in human loss but also financial losses due to livestock killing and other issues due to floods, like disease, food loss, destruction of property, etc.
Shaukat Khan Shaukat Khan
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
April 12, 2011
Thanks Hafiz Wasi Khan & Dr. Arshad Ramzee for your encouraging comments

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