South Sudan: floods expose cattle to strange diseases

By Chondok Stephen Magei
The floods in Unity State seem to secede but the effects remain dire on cattle in the region.In the northern part of the state where the oilfields are located, over ten thousand cows have died and Pablang Tural Thai is one of those rueing the losses. 
“I have tried to vaccinate  my cattle but there was no improvement until I lost many cattle,” Magei told Juba Echo by telephone.
“Another thing cattle develop wounds with small worms. I never seen such disease, we also failed to treat those wounds,” he said.
Strange as the diseases are, the owners are seeking respite from the government and humanitarian organisations over the issue.In another strange scenario, “the cattle developed many pimples, even if you vaccinate, the cow will die without delay,” according to Magei.
“We appeal for urgent rescue from VSF and ministry of animal resource and fisheries.”Just like him, other cattle keepers are lamenting dire losses.
In the State capital Bentiu, Angelina Nyatuak Ker Gai said the situation is worsening hunger among the people who depend on cattle meat and milk as part of their food.
Unity State is alrwady one of the regions which could be subjected to severe food insecurity in the country.
After years of crisis which totally eroded livelihoods, the floods, the worst since the 1960s has simply dashed homes of hundreds of thousands of people returning home to begin rebuilding their lives.
The crisis, in which Unity State was the epicenter, left about 400,000 people dead, displaced four million others and disrupted the economy of the oil depended country.
Services including in the human and animal health remains extremely dire, especially as the floods have cut off outreach by humanitarian actors who were the major lifeline for the people returning home.
Milk production by the animals have reduced drastically, Gai told Juba Echo.
“I have no medicine to treat my cattle, so I just buy medicine from local veterinarians to treat my cattle, but they are still dying up to now,” he said. 
Gai also decried lack of pasture land after floods submerged the land.
“The main problem we are facing, our cattle have no pasture, and this is because of flood water invaded all parts of unity state,” he said. “I am requesting the state government and humanitarian partners to vaccine our cattle.”
The Veterinary Sans Frontiers (VSF), an organization which oversees the health of animals said a vaccination campaign in the areas around Panakach and Unity oilfields will be carried by next week.
“We have received vaccination supplies from Juba office and the vaccination will kick off next week targeting all cattle camps in Northern part of unity state,” VSF Unity State focal person, Stephen Gatchang Both told Juba Echo.

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