Tsunami update - Day 13 - Jan 7, 2005
- From S. Chinny Krishna, Chairman, Blue Cross of India
regarding work of Blue Cross and
Karuna Society for Animals and Nature, Puttaparthi, AP
Report as on January 7, 2005 - 1300 hrs
Most of the input for this update of our efforts in Cuddalore
and Nagapattinam is from reports received from Clementien
Pauws, President, Karuna. She has been in that area from
Sunday, Jan 2nd.
The situation is much grimmer than first thought. Healthy
animals (cows, goats, ponies and dogs) are getting unwell
due to lack of good water - many were living on salty water
since all water sources were inundated by the sea. The cattle
have been living on rotting food and many have ingested
substantial amounts of plastic material which means that
a larger problem is looming ahead.
For dogs, especially nearer the larger areas, where media
presence is substantial and, therefore, most relief efforts tend
to be concentrated, there is so much wasted food that the
dogs are getting their needs.
In Cuddalore District, thanks to a most efficient District
Collector, things are under some sort of control. The
animal husbandary department (AHD) is giving fodder to
the rescued cattle and goats which have been taken in
by their owners. For those cattle not claimed by any one,
there is no food or water except what is being given by
In Nagapattinam District, the situation is nightmarish.
All NGOs were called for a meeting in the Collector's
Office on Wednesday Jan 5. Mrs. Clementien Pauws of
Karuna, Mr. Hari Prasad, President of the Puttaparthi
SPCA and some of the Blue Cross supervisors attended.
The first thing was that the "animal welfare groups" were
told that all dogs in that area must be killed since there
had been a report that a dog had been seen eating a
corpse. Clementien came out of the meeting and told me
about it and asked me what to do. I told her to tell the
authorities that it was illegal to kill the dogs and that, if
there were bodies on the beaches after 10 days, it
reflected very poorly on the administration. She feared
that if we refused, we would not be permitted by the
Collector and the Police to work. All I could do was to
go back and tell them what I had said and that I would
talk to someone higher up. I was unable to get through
to Mr. R. Santanam, IAS, Relief Commissioner. I then
contacted Dr. R. Balasubramanian, AWBI Secretary,
who said he would talk to the Collector.
On Thursday, Jan 6, there were reports that the Collector
had ordered the killing of the dogs. Our volunteer,
Mrs. Radha Rajan, contacted Mr. Govind, Director
General of Police who promised to talk to the Collector.
Reports last received seemed to indicate that no dogs
were being killed. Clementien confirmed that no locals
had asked that any dogs be killed.
No fodder was made available from the AHD yesterday.
With great difficulty, our two ambulances were filled
with green grass purchased by us and some animals
were fed. The large number of relief vehicles on the road
made movement extremely difficult. The 70 kilometer
drive from Nagapattinam to Cuddalore took over 5 hours.
The truck sent by the Blue Cross with cattle feed
concentrate only reached Cuddalore at about six p.m.
and promptly broke down. Fortunately, we were able to
hire another lorry and take the material to Nagapattinam
where it was unloaded at midnight in the Government
Veterinary Hospital godown.
We are thankful to Mr. Gowrishankar, AGM of Indian
Bank at HQ Chennai, who heard of our work at
Cuddalore-Nagapattinam and contacted me
and asked what help we required. He spoke to his
Nagapattinam Manager and they have made available
a fully walled in compound behind their bank office in
Nagapattinam where we can safely park all our vehicles
at night and store supplies.
Mr. Daniel, Shelter Supervisor at our Guindy centre,
has also gone down to Nagapattinam with money and
two mobile phones so that our teams can keep in
touch with each other. Mr. S. Raghavan, an Honorary
Animal Welfare Officer of the AWBI and our long time
volunteer, has taken three weeks off from everything
and has gone down to Nagapattinam today to
co-ordinate the cattle camps which have to be set up
most urgently. We are also taking a farm house on
rent for a few weeks to set up our site office and
a place to keep the many ponies affected.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a Swiss radio
station asking about the reports that dogs were
feasting on human bodies and whether that will result
in them becoming man-eaters. I told them that
there was a report about one such case and that if
human bodies were on the beach 10 days after the
incident, it pointed out the inefficiency of the local
At 1030 this morning, Clementien called to say that
there was a meeting being called by the Collector
and the AHD regarding setting up of temporary
camps for the cattle and whether we could
co-ordinate the entire work. I told her that we were
stretched to the limit as it was and not to accept
any responsibility that we could not fulfil properly.
She said that there was nobody else to do it.
We finally agreed to tell the AHD that we would
do so provided all facitities were extended
including making available fodder - grass and
hay - and water. We would take care of the
medical treatment and medicines. Hopefully,
Raghavan will be able to handle this in view of his
vast experience of 20 years in cattle rescue with
Govardhan and the Blue Cross.
Last night, Dr. Abdul Rahman of the Commonwealth
Veterinary Association called to say that he is visiting
Chennai today (Friday) to meet with me and
finalise arrangements to work together. Hopefully,
we will be able to get a few livestock inspectors
and Vets (all Tamil speaking) who can work for
the next month or two so that we can expand our
area of operations.
An update will be sent late tonight or early tomorrow
regarding the meeting with Dr. Abdul Rahman and
the results of Clementien's meeting with the
S. Chinny Krishna
Blue Cross of India
Dr. S. Chinny Krishna
MTech,MS, PhD, FIE, FIIChE
Aspick Engineering P. Ltd.
D 5 Industrial Estate
Guindy, Chennai 600 032, India
Phone: +91 44 2234 1399 / 3839 / 8849 / 1878
Direct: +91 44 2233 1091
Fax: +91 44 2234 9801 / 2232 5219
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