New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) On the International Disaster Risk Reduction Day, an animal protection body has called for inclusion of animals in disaster response plans of state governments.

World Animal Protection, an international non-profit animal welfare organisation, said millions of poor people rely on their animals for food, transport and their livelihoods, and when disasters strike, the impact is devastating for the animals and the communities that depend on them.

It said India last year became one of the few nations to have included rescue, relief and rehabilitation of animals during disasters in the National Disaster Management Plan, and it is essential that all states integrate animals in their disaster response plans.

“When major disasters strike, survival of people and the recovery of whole communities is inextricably linked to the survival of animals. We must reduce the risks of losing pets and livestock by strengthening the community’s capabilities to cope with recurring disasters.

“A disaster can destroy a family’s annual income, whilst also having the power to devastate a whole nation; making resilience building a vital step. By helping animals, we are sustainably safeguarding livelihoods, food security and resilience to disasters,” said Gajender K Sharma, India Country Director at World Animal Protection.

It said whenever a disaster hits, mass evacuation of people leaves pets and herds of livestock bereft of their owners.

A large number of animals perish and those which survive are confused, hungry, scared and injured which could be avoided with better disaster prevention, the organisation added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.