These decomposing carcasses pose a threat to public health and require attention from authorities on an urgent basis.

Receding water leaves behind hundreds of animal carcasses in flood-hit Kerala Image courtesy: Jisha Elizabeth
news Kerala floods Monday, August 20, 2018 - 12:31

As flood waters receded from many parts of the state, hundreds of animal carcasses floating on the water have been found in areas such as Alappuzha and Chalakudy.

“We’ve found decomposing bodies of several stray dogs and heavy animals such as cows floating on the water. This area (Kuttanad) has several farms so domestic animals such as goats are the primary casualties,” said Sreedevi Kartha, a volunteer with People for Animals, which is undertaking rescue operations in the flood-hit parts of the state.

At the Divine Retreat Centre in Chalakudy, at least 300 animals have died in the deluge. Some of the carcasses were stuck on trees, making it difficult for people in the area to clear them.

The story is the same across Kerala. In Kinussery, a village near the Nedumbassery airport, the villagers fled the place on Thursday night but could not rescue at least a 100 cows and pigs. Reports on Malayalam media suggest that the carcasses of these animals are still floating in areas around the airport.

Rescue teams are currently busy with relief operations of stranded and saved animals and the animal carcasses have not been removed yet.

“We have several cases of animal rescue pending. So, if we clear carcasses now, we will not be able to save stranded animals,” Sreedevi adds.

With no government organisation or private entity taking up the initiative to clear the bodies, these decomposing carcasses pose a threat to public health and require attention from authorities on an urgent basis.

“Mostly the clearing initiative will be taken by the government authorities and each panchayat or municipal corporation will undertake the clearing of the carcass. However, accessibility to these dead bodies is a major issue and many carcasses will float away or decompose in the water itself. Accessibility is also a hurdle we face while undertaking rescue operations,” Sreedevi added.

In places such as Kochi, dog owners were unable to take their pets with them as they were not allowed on relief boats. The pets who were left untied have managed to stay afloat for days.

“In many parts, is a higher number of deaths of heavy animals such as cattle. Dogs can swim and stay afloat even on a tiny piece of floating bark. We have even rescued dogs which stayed afloat for days who though have lost their skin completely, have still managed to stay alive,” she said.

Rescue groups such as Hands for Paws, People for Animals and Street Dog Watch have joined hands with the department of animal husbandry to launch ‘Save animals Kerala’, a campaign to rescue stranded animals.  

The groups are currently operating in the Kuttanad area to feed and rescue starving cattle who were tied to the bridges when the water levels rose. Jangar boats will be deployed to rescue these animals from the water-logged areas.


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