Beginning in the second week of August 2017, Nepal experienced a period of sustained heavy rainfall (hydro-meteorological stations in three Terai districts recorded the heaviest levels of precipitation in 60 years) resulting in large scale adverse impacts on life, livelihoods and infrastructure impacting 1.7 million people with 460,000 people displaced. Flooding has affected already vulnerable and marginalized regions of Nepal including some Terai districts which were inundated by major flooding in 2014 where recovery has been poor.
The flood caused tremendous damages to the agriculture crops and livestock. As per the data from the Ministry of Livestock Development (reported on 21 August 2017), a total of 2,051 livestock like cow, ox, calf, buffalo, bull, goat, pig and 167,477 poultry) have been lost due to the floods in the nine most affected districts. The dead bodies of livestock and poultry are quickly deteriorating and this leads to contamination by various microbiological organisms including those that could be extremely pathogenic to humans. The current monsoon climate poses an additional threat on public health situation and potential vector borne diseases in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
Immediately after the disaster, the Health Cluster initiated infectious disease and other public health surveillance and treatment mechanisms as per the post-disaster health response SOP. The WASH cluster is putting utmost efforts on providing sanitation measures in the aftermath of floods. Meanwhile, as far as dead livestock is concerned, there is little attention despite serious health consequences foreseen especially in the current monsoon climate. Disposal of livestock carcasses will complement the efforts through health and WASH cluster in containing potential public health hazards and vector-borne diseases in the flood-affected areas.