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Animal health | Veterinary Public Health

The destruction caused by the Tsunami will have included the loss of domestic farm animals (poultry, sheep, goats and, to a lesser,extent cattle and water buffalo), the loss of related infrastructure (barns, stores, processing facilities etc.) and the animal feed resource base (crop residues, straws and the more in-land affected pastures).
Cattle grazing on rice fields under fallow (Sri Lanka)

In the affected areas, such livestock made an important contribution to the household economy and rehabilitating this sub-sector will be important for restoring their livelihoods to former levels. Therefore, there is a need for support to the rehabilitation of the animal production through restocking activities, animal health accompanying measures and reconstruction of related infrastructure. In addition, Veterinary Public Health activities for protection of human health are needed.

Restocking programme

Restocking will need an assessment of the importance of livestock losses on country by country basis. We can estimate that almost 100% of animals raised in the affected costal areas would have been lost.

For each affected country FAO will prepare, with local consultants, appropriate guidelines, checklists and specifications for rehabilitating household livestock enterprises. These materials will be made widely available to the numerous agencies (international and national NGOs, development agencies, community groups and associations) who are expected to be involved in the relief and rehabilitation process, so that they can effectively respond to the differing needs of the affected communities.


Regarding animal health, restocking means replacement with animals coming from other villages or regions. This would constitute perfect conditions for:
Appearance of outbreaks of highly infectious diseases due to movements of animals, humans or animal food products.
Losses due to stress related animal diseases.

Therefore, there is a need to restore the Official Veterinary Services particularly for early warning and early reaction to the main infectious diseases and provision of timely interventions for disease control and prevention both for restocking and surviving animals.

Rehabilitation of Veterinary Services:

Surveillance for early warning and early reaction to the main infectious and transboundary livestock and poultry diseases such as:

1) Poultry: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Newcastle virus disease,
2) Pigs: Classical swine Fever, FMD, Nipah virus, Japanese encephalitis,
3) Sheep and goats: PPR, pasteurellosis,
4) Cattle: PPR (in India), Hemorrhagic septicaemia and FMD.

Support to animal disease control campaigns for restocking and surviving animals.

Vaccination against the main diseases of:
Poultry: Newcastle virus Disease
Pigs: Classical swine fever and Pasteurellosis
Small ruminants: PPR, pasteurellosis and clostridial diseases
Cattle: PPR (in India), Hemorrhagic septicaemia, clostridial diseases and anthrax
Anthelmintic treatment campaigns


In such dramatic and chaotic circumstances, the Public Health dimension must also be considered through the restoration of the Veterinary Services to provide food inspection, particularly in refugee camps and general hygiene with special consideration to animal waste.

 contact: tsunami@fao.org © FAO, 2005