A National initiative to promote animals’ safety in times of disaster was launched on Friday, in Nanyuki Town of Laikipia County in a campaign dubbed “Animal in Disaster” (AiD).
The Initiative is a partnership of the Laikipia County government, local Department of Veterinary Services and the
University of Nairobi.
In Kenya the campaign targets to establish the Animal Disaster Fund (ADF) to facilitate swift response to animals faced by disasters, such as diseases, floods, drought, landslides and fires.
It will at the same time activate the establishment of a National and County Animal Emergency Disaster Plans, animal evacuation and holding grounds alongside support training for specialized veterinary response among others.
According to the Director Africa Animal Protection, Williams Tennyson, the Fund will develop Animal Emergency Response Plans for Livestock, companion animals, working animals, wildlife and aquatic animals.
It will also set up Veterinary Emergency Response units as well as support emergency training at University of Nairobi, national and county departments of veterinary services to develop and disseminate disaster preparedness information to animal owners and public among others.
Dr. Tennyson was speaking before the flagging off, of a public campaign Caravan to create awareness on the need of animal protection against disaster by the Laikipia County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr. Lucy Murugi.
Dr. Tennyson said the initiative was in line with the Sendai framework on disaster management system.
He said the Imitative involves protection of animals reared both at home and those in the grazing fields adding that governments should be responsible for animals’ well being.
“Every time disasters strike, livelihoods and productive assets are affected among them livestock and working animals. The negative effects are destructive on the family unit and overall community resilience.
The Animal Disasters’ initiative seeks to invest and enhance animal protection through effective disaster preparedness and response,” ‘Tennyson noted.
He added that the imitative had four areas of focus on policies, capacity building, animal disaster financing (Fund and Insurance) and public participation.
“We have made great strides towards the protection of animals’ welfare through legislation and deliberate projects in livestock husbandry being a devolved function – as we promote animals’ welfare,” Dr. Murugi said.
She added that Laikipia County would continue to work with the World Animal Protection and Line partners by scaling up operations to ensure that animals are safeguarded from common disasters.
“During budgeting, both County and national governments should factor in allocations to alleviate disasters or cater for the welfare of animals when the calamities strike.
Laikipia County is prone to disasters during dry and rainy seasons which affect both people and animals.
By Margaret Kirera