Livestock contributes about 25% of the GDP of Agriculture and about 4.5% of the total domestic product (GDP) in the Indian economy. According to the cattle census of the year 2019, the total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country & more than 70% is responsible for the livelihood of small & marginal peoples, so the loss of livestock has tremendous negative impacts. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also recognizes that: “The loss of livestock not only represents a loss of income for families, but also family savings and investment over many years, thus required actions at policy, programmatic and community/farm”. The loss of animals in disasters may lead to psychological, financial & social impacts. During disaster response & recovery phase animals may act as innovative tool to overcome the challenges in accessing and engaging vulnerable groups. The lives of human & animal can be saved together, may decrease the recovery time of vulnerable communities through animal involvement. This paper outlines how including animals in disaster response can provide benefits for the physical and mental health and livelihood of humans that extend well beyond the disaster event. It is apparent that even though animals are the main source of livelihood to the poorest of the poor, disaster management of animals does not figure enough importance in preparedness, mitigation or rehabilitation & response. Animals can play a major role in all the components of disaster management and the same can be proven through PDNA. There is significant participation of women in the conventional animal husbandry system; this practice can create better psychological recovery for them also. Animals can be used for search and rescue operations too; these can be the means of transport of injured people when no other transport is possible. Animals are also used for clearance of debris in inaccessible areas. Hence, Animals can be proved as best movable assets of the farmer, which can be salvaged and used during response periods or while victims, live in shelters for reducing the disaster risks. There are many instances available when the disaster recovery gets faster when humans have their animals with them. Livestock will not merely work as production instruments, but have the good impact on livelihood and can prove as collaborative effort to have a pro-poor, pro-environment development & produce an inclusive & sustainable disaster risk reduction. Keywords:- Livestock, livelihood, disaster response, recovery, rehabilitation, disaster management
Dr. Monika Gupta is working for animal welfare from last 22 years at various arena of veterinary field and at various levels from policy decisions to field level. She provides technical support in the preparation of guidelines in the field of animal disaster management and various plans. She has done various capacity building projects, awareness & sensitization programmes and policy planning. She is awarded with JICA certificate on Knowledge Co-Creation Programme on “Raising Awareness of Disaster Reduction” by Govt. of Japan. She has vast experience in the field of veterinary services included planning and implementation of livestock development activities, projects and providing support for livestock management on a hygienic and scientific basis, to the farmers. She has multitudinous expertise in the various aspects of animal husbandry, dairying, poultry keeping and related issues. She was also associated with livestock biological products production and their quality control. She is currently working with Uttar Pradesh Livestock Development Board, Uttar Pradesh.