BANNU: The non-availability of fodder and reported outbreak of diseases have forced the internally displaced persons from North Waziristan Agency to sell their cattle at throwaway price.
Sources said that weather condition in Bannu and other districts where IDPs had taken shelter was also not favourable for their domestic animals.
A large number of IDPs have brought their domestic animals including cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep and poultry along with them while fleeing North Waziristan after launch of military operation there.
Some well-off IDPs, who could afford to pay the exorbitant fare, brought their animals in the vehicles while others herded their cattle and walked for several days on different routes to reach Bannu.
Unavailability of fodder, outbreak of diseases and harsh weather are to blame
According to the officials of livestock department, more than 130,000 domestic animals have been shifted to Bannu by the displaced persons.
About 200,000 poultry was also shifted from Waziristan, they said, adding that 8,000 cattle were provided with medicines while over 20,000 were vaccinated against various deadly diseases.
Sources said that 5,000 domestic animals died in Bannu, 150 in Lakki Marwat, 200 in Dera Ismail Khan and about 130 in Karak within few weeks after the arrival of IDPs.
They said that a large number of cattle had already died either of heatstroke or non-availability of fodder during the migration of IDPs.
Dr Rafiullah, veterinary officer in livestock department in Bannu, told Dawn that most of the cattle brought by IDPs from North Waziristan fell victims to sunstroke.
“These animals, familiar with cold climate in Waziristan, were affected by the hot weather after their arrival in Bannu,” he said.
Dr Rafiullah said that symptoms of hemorrhagic septicemia and enterotoxaemia were also detected in the domestic animals of IDPs. He said that mobile teams were formed and eight camps were established in parts of the district to check and vaccinate the cattle of IDPs.
The official said that mobile teams were visiting houses while camps were set up in various localities to contain seasonal diseases of livestock.
The local people feared that their domestic animals would be also at risk if death rate among the cattle of IDPs was not controlled.
They demanded of the government to contain the spread of diseases among animals of IDPs. They urged the government to send teams of specialist veterinary doctors to put brakes on the diseases.
“The displaced families have no other option but to sell their animals at half price owing to non-availability of fodder and risk of diseases,” sources said. The IDPs said that veterinary doctors were struggling to prevent the diseases by vaccinating their cattle but they couldn’t afford loss of their costly domestic animals.
“I sold a buffalo at Rs70,000 although I had bought it at Rs150,000 in Miramshah. I took the decision due to fear that animal would get infected by the hazardous disease,” Habibullah, a displaced tribesman for Mirali, told Dawn. He added that he had no money to provide medicines, fodder and shelter to his domestic animals in Bannu where he and his children were living a miserable life.
Taking advantage of the situation, the local traders have started buying animals for IDPs at very low rate. The IDPs have no space for their cattle as they are either living in schools, hujars (male guest houses) of local people or in rented houses in a miserable condition.
“I brought few of my cattle from Waziristan to Bannu after covering a long distance on foot. But now I feel that cattle are only a burden on me as I have no space to keep them nor I have resources to feed them fodders,” a displaced tribesman said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf during his visit to a relief camp in Bannu had ordered provision of sufficient fodder for the IDPs’ cattle.
The provincial government has also released Rs104 million to arrange fodder for their cattle.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations, 11 tonnes of fodder for cattle of IDPs was distributed in Bannu, Tank and DI Khan.
Through a special civil-military veterinary setup, 4,488 cattle were provided veterinary treatment, it said.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2014