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Initiative launched to protect animals from disaster

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

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