Posted by hougansydney.com on Thursday, June 15, 2017 Under: Agriculture
Since Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti last October, the number of people facing hunger and food insecurity in the worst affected areas has steadily declined thanks to the massive humanitarian response . But where the effects of the storm added to three years of drought and severe flooding, the latest survey warns that food insecurity remains high.
Therefore, the sustained response focuses on helping these families to rebuild their livelihoods.
As part of this effort, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is operating mobile veterinary clinics to protect livestock from vulnerable families, benefiting more than 12,000 people.
In a field in Torbeck, southern Haiti, small herds of cows seek the shade of the trees while their owners, men and women in the area, wait their turn to speak with visiting veterinarians.
Joril Gilles is one of these peasants. Like many of the southern inhabitants of the country, he is still struggling to get back on his feet.
"Hurricane Mathew took away five of my cows, as well as sheep and goats, not to mention all the fodder I lost," says Joril, 50. "It's the first time," he adds, "that I get this kind of help to improve the condition of my animals: veterinary care is usually very expensive."
Today's veterinary unit is the first to visit the area since the hurricane. Farmers are confident that their animals will soon become robust and productive. Two FAO veterinarians, together with a veterinary team of 15 people prepare for an intense day of work unpacking their equipment, which includes ropes, sprays, gloves, syringes and medicines in glass and plastic bottles.
Thousands of animals died as a result of the hurricane and those who survived are in many cases ill. Haiti has very few public veterinarians - some 40 in all - and are not equipped to treat all the animals that need it.
Jucelin Philippe Beauvoir is the president of the Dairy Producers Association of the Torbeck community. "The animals that survived are malnourished due to drought, lack of food and the high cost or lack of veterinary supplies," he says.
FAO's mobile veterinary teams travel to affected communities to conduct animal health and nutrition assessments and provide treatments when necessary. Teams also teach local veterinary assistants how to administer multivitamin treatments and complexes to ensure that animals stay healthy.
The clinics operate in coordination with local authorities and with financial assistance from Belgium and the European Commission. Around 2,500 peasant families - among the poorest - receive assistance under the project.
One of the FAO veterinarians, Destines Plonquet, is a Haitian and talks to farmers while translating for his Spanish-speaking colleague, Pedro Díaz Rodríguez. Local community veterinarians have been trained by FAO. This exchange of knowledge at the local level helps to ensure sustainable and affordable animal health care in the future.
Access to veterinary services is key to the healthiest animals, which are the main source of food and income for farmers in the area. At the clinic, every farmer has the opportunity to have his cattle treated, and discuss ongoing care.
In the weeks following the visit to the mobile clinic, farmers reported that the status of their animals improved and increased milk production.
"I'm happy with the help," explains Joril, before driving his cows back home.
In : Agriculture