Disaster Management – Friendicoes

Disaster Management

Friendicoes has always led rescue efforts during national disasters. We extended help to all the animals and humans affected by numerous disasters beginning with the Bhuj Earthquake Relief Work in 2001. We worked in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Bhuj, and Kutch, feeding the animals and rescuing and treating the injured. We stayed in Gujarat for 30 days to help with relief work and we were awarded the Elisabeth Lewyt award for this work. 

In 2004 the Tsunami hit southern India, and Friendicoes was one of the first to arrive there for rescue work. We provided medical treatments, rehoming & feeding as many animals as we could reach along the South Indian coastline as well as Andaman and Nicobar Islands which did not have any animal shelter or hospital. We have continued our feeding and sterilisation program in Andaman Nicobar ever since 2004 and sterilise between 150 to 200 dogs each month in collaboration with the Port Blair Municipality as well as the Animal Husbandry Dept on various islands and mainly Port Blair. Similarly, during floods in Maharashtra, Mumbai, Orissa, and Chennai Friendicoes has been at the forefront – feeding, rescuing and rehabilitating. We also conducted vaccination camps across badly affected villages for domestic animals to prevent epidemics and further loss of animals.

Covid 19 Relief Work and Street Dog Feeding – Ever since the lockdown began, from March 2020, we were feeding over 2000 stray dogs and cats of Delhi and Noida. We also fed nilgais, monkeys, cows and other large animals with support from donors. Amidst this crisis, the misinformation on contracting corona virus from pets led to many pet owners abandoning their pets. Friendicoes housed over 100 newly abandoned pets at our lifetime care sanctuary during the first few months of the pandemic, even though we were short on staff and our income flow as well as donations were severely affected. Over the next few months, we continued our rescue work and sterilization as well, responding to any calls for distressed, injured or sick strays. Our OPD units were also functional during these difficult times and our vets and paravets were continuing to provide medical treatment for emergency and serious cases as we consider our work an essential service. Although lockdowns are over, we find ourselves still feeding over 1200 street animals even today. We request support to continue this effort and seek sponsors so the program stays sustained.

Recently during the Yamuna floods in July 2023 Friendicoes was the first organization to arrive for rescue work at the Yamuna Pushta area. Every year during the monsoons the Yamuna flood plains go under water but what was seen this year was a first for most people. The capital city of Delhi saw over 153 millimetres (6.0 in) rain on 9 July 2023, marking the highest precipitation in a single day in July in over 40 years. The unexpectedness of the flood situation meant lack of proper planning and equipment for smooth rescue work. The biggest obstacle was a clear lack of boats and rafts needed for rescue work. Arranging to bring in boats from faraway places cost time, money and lives. But we left no stones unturned. Everything possible was done and at the end of the week Friendicoes was instrumental in saving 1000+ animals from different locations.

While rescue work continued, simultaneously relief work started by day 2 as the rescued animals, mostly displaced and injured, in shock, trauma and starving needed to be fed and their injuries tended to. Many were rescued highly dehydrated, starving for days and some in collapsed condition who needed immediate medical intervention. Flood waters also meant a lot of them suffered from water borne infections with upset tummies. By the 7th day rescue work was almost over but relief and rehabilitation continued for a month. The rescued farmers could not afford to feed their animals so we provided them with dry fodder as well as tending to the abandoned and displaced animals. Cows with fractured legs, calves with septicaemia, dogs with open wounds, goats with cuts and bruises – every animal we came across was given medical treatment on spot and the more serious cases were moved to the shelter. More than 2000 animals were fed and treated by Friendicoes over a period of 4 weeks.