COPING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS: THE ROLE OF LOCAL HEALTH PERSONNEL AND THE COMMUNITY
( By A Working Guide (WHO - OMS, 1989) )

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Chapter 3.Dealing with animals

In a disaster animals may be killed (in large numbers in floods, for instance) or dispersed. They may lose their shelter. Endemic zoonoses may spread. Dogs may revert to the wild and go about in packs. The community, possibly using groups of volunteers (who will be more effective if they have been trained in advance), should take steps to carry out the essential tasks:


· Destruction of animal carcasses: this is not easy because they are difficult to bum and burying them involves a great deal of labour. Often they have to be sprinkled with petrol and covered with earth to protect them against predators until they can be destroyed or buried.

· Destruction of parts of animals. The same treatment as that described for carcasses should be given to parts of animals in butchers’ shops, slaughterhouses and dwellings when they can no longer be kept refrigerated.

· Housing of shelterless animals; capture and treatment of stray animals. The animals must be brought together in specially prepared premises, fed, milked and looked after.

· Re-opening of slaughterhouses: existing ones if they are usable, otherwise in temporary premises or in lorries equipped for the carriage of meat.


As soon as possible the veterinary services in the area should:


· organize the monitoring of communicable animal diseases and of slaughterhouses,

· carry out mass vaccinations, depending on the local hazards, such as rabies, foot-and-mouth disease, swine fever, anthrax, fowl pest, etc.,

· eliminate any sick animals or isolate the farms affected.


Measures to save stock may be very important in the rural areas and have a great impact on the morale and economic recovery of the community.

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