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Emergency response

FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division (AGA) is frequently involved in emergency responses triggered either by the incursion of severe animal diseases, which have the ability to rapidly spread over large geographical areas (‘transboundary animal diseases’, TADs) into previously unaffected countries or regions, or by natural and man-made disasters such as droughts, floods, earthquakes, civil strife etc. Both types of emergency have in common that they can severely affect livestock-related livelihoods.


AGA’s Animal Health Service (AGAH) is FAO’s source of technical expertise required for the rapid and effective control of transboundary disease emergencies. In support of Member countries affected by an animal disease emergency and those at risk, AGAH activities combine early disease detection with early warning and early response. Early warning is based on disease intelligence and surveillance carried out jointly with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Crisis Management Centre - Animal Health (CMC-AH), as the joint operational arm of FAO’s Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES), and FAO’s emergency operations and Rehabilitation Division, is entrusted with early response activities.


The livestock component of emergency responses to natural disasters is technically managed primarily by AGA’s Livestock Production Systems Branch (AGAS). The immediate response can consist in the provision of veterinary drugs, feed or replacement stock. To optimize livestock emergency response, AGAS is contributing to the development of Livestock Emergency Guidelines (LEGS) within a consortium formed by Tufts University, the International Red Cross, Vétérinaires sans Frontières and the African Union.