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On 18th February, 2003, BRC received information from UN, via the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), regarding severe winter storms affecting large areas of Pakistan. While, winter rains and snowfall brought much needed relief to the drought-stricken country by filling its water reservoirs and improving groundwater resources, reports from OCHA indicated that storms claimed at least 60 lives and injured hundreds, caused by road accidents, houses collapses and landslides.
BRC received a second update from OCHA a day later, warning that storms were continuing, which have turned into tornadoes at some places. On receiving this update, BRC immediately organized a team, including qualified vet, to some of the worst affected areas. The team distributed food and provided veterinary care for animals, caught in the storm.

Areas visited and work done

1) Village:              Makki Sahaba
    Nearby Town:      Sacha Soda
    City:                   Farooq Abad (old name Chur Kana)
    District:               Shekhupura
    Division:              Lahore
    Province:             Punjab

On Tuesday 18th of February a tornadoes hit the district of Shekupura. State television reported that it killed two, injured another 150 and demolished some 400 houses in four villages. One of the worst hit villages was Makki Sahaba and BRC team concentrated on this village for its relief activities.
The team reached the village on 21st February and, after consultation with the local authorities, was fully operational by the morning of Saturday 22nd February.
Nearly total livestock flock of the effected village was given a health check, following by physical treatment of over 300 animals for different problems.
The efforts of our team were much appreciated by the locals as the treatment was effective. Due to poor quality control, most local veterinary medicines are fake and unreliable, while the imported supplies, used by BRC’s team were 100% effective.
The majority of the treated animals were either suffering from pneumonia or facing severe dehydration resulting from diarrhoea. Animals were also treated for various internal and external parasitic infections.

Provincial Government administration also visited the BRC temporary clinic and expressed their gratitude for the dedication of the team, which saved many heads of livestock and indirectly helped the local residents of the tornado ramped area.

2) Village:               Ali Muhmad Khuskhieli Goath & Jumaani Goath
    Nearby Town:       Gadap
    District:                Karachi
    Province:              Sindh

Reports from the UN stated that tornado claimed 5 lives (3 men and 2women), and injured 35, as the tornado struck the two villages, i.e., Ali Muhmad Khuskhieli Goath and Jumaani Goath located in Gadap area. More than 80 houses, two poultry farms were also demolished, while a large number of livestock heads perished. BRC vet team reached the site of the calamity without losing time and started examining and treating the animals. Due to persisting hostilities between the two villages, BRC’s initial efforts to bring veterinary care to the animals were hampered. However, despite the attitude of heads, the villagers were keen to get treatment for the animals and the team was ultimately able to treat some 400 animals in the two villages. 
Our fast-acting team on the ground, and the enthusiasm and knowledge of our young motivated Director, BRC was able to respond quickly to the severe winter storms in Pakistan, whereby many animals were saved, ensuring happiness for local masses. It served as a good example of how local contacts and member societies form an essential part of any disaster relief work, which BRC carried out, so effectively.
 
 

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