Saving Lives and Beyond because “Animals Matter in Disaster”

Posted on 12/09/2019 by Dr. Akash Maheshwari

How could we ever think of neglecting animals in disaster?

We often take help of dogs to detect the possibility of any sign of life in search and rescue work or any other disaster, but when it comes to saving animal life in disaster they are mostly overlooked; how could we ever think of neglecting animals in disaster?

 “As per the symbol of N.D.R.F Saving Lives and Beyond... is NDRF’s motto and Lives are not classified whether it’s of humans or animals, and life in this world or planet We Want To Save, We Will Save”- Director General of National Disaster Response Force (N.D.R.F) said at platform of Kaun Banega Crorepati (Show based on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) in reply to how do you save animals in your routine procedure? Incidents shared by N.D.R.F Director-General during T.V show Kaun Banega Crorepati reflect how community people are attached with their animals even in disaster but because of lack of knowledge and proper planning, we find it difficult to deal with this matter. As the community is the first responder during the first half an hour of disaster, so community should not entirely be dependent on agencies, it’s our duty to save animals lives along with our loved ones. 

Partnering with NDRF

We are extremely thankful to D.G (N.D.R.F ) Mr.S.N Pradhan, IPS and his team for saving animals along with humans in disaster and for raising the concerns of animal lives in the disaster. We know it’s just beginning and by looking at the number and severity of disaster increasing year after year, we have to seriously work out for saving animal lives with humans in disaster. To fulfill the requirements, we are proud to say that we have been partnering with NDRF for conducting mock drills, Training of Trainer (ToT) for their master trainers on addressing the welfare needs of Animals in Disaster.

The Climate Crisis

World Animal Protection has spent 55 years protecting animals in disasters, but the climate crisis is making the global situation worse every day for both humans and animals. To combat this situation, we need better planning not only at the national level but also at the state level.  To fulfill these, we need to develop infrastructure and have adequate specialized equipment to save animal lives because many times we find ourselves helpless because of the complexity of the problem in saving animals due to challenges in managing logistics, technical or training aspects. Because of climate change and extreme weather events for animals and people, preparedness is the key to managing and minimizing the impact. World Animal Protection is continuously advocating governments and other stakeholders for the need to integrate animals in disaster management plans - before disaster strikes!

How can we save animals in disaster?

A simple task of untying animal in an emergency can save animals as often animals die because of many reasons. These reasons can be that they can’t move to safer places, can't swim or move out the body from debris. Many times, they get unattended because of non-availability of any attendant/owner or owner himself suffered a loss after a disaster. Animals have an in-built instinct that makes them feel disaster in advance. We must let them roam free and help them find their way whenever possible rather sometimes they can also help us by telling us about a forthcoming disaster. We need such training and mock drills to support community over Animal in Disaster, so they are fully prepared to protect their animals, families, and livelihoods when the worst happens.