Despite recent conflicts, UNMISS Indian vets visit volatile Pibor to treat sick livestock and train locals
Conflict or no conflict, flooding or no flooding: cattle, essential to the livelihood of many South Sudanese people, require care and medical attention when weak or sick.
For this reason, and while strictly observing necessary COVID-19 protocols, Indian vets serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have recently spent a week in the Pibor area to provide exactly these vital services.
“Our veterinarians worked tirelessly to alleviate the pain and suffering of no less than 423 cattle, 197 sheep and 411 goats,” says Lieutenant Colonel Fernandes Richmark Igni, in charge of this particular outreach programme, which also included the establishment of a local team of seven Community Animal Health Workers in the volatile Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
Their initiative, much appreciated by cattle owners in Pibor and beyond, took place despite recent ethnic conflicts in the area. Animals were not spared from this outburst of violence, which claimed many lives and displaced thousands of people. Countless cattle and other livestock were lost in a number of raids and revenge killings.
In line with its mandate of protecting civilians, the UN peacekeeping mission continues to make all possible efforts to also maintain the livelihoods of South Sudanese citizens.
“To gain a better understanding of the needs on the ground, we also made sure to liaise with local authorities, volunteers working for Veterinaries without Borders and community members,” explains Lieutenant Colonel Richmark.
While the expertise of the Indian veterinaries will be missed, cattle owners in the Pibor area are now better equipped than before to handle sick animals. Apart from having trained seven community animal health workers, the peacekeepers also donated supplies to their hosts, including multivitamins, anti-parasitic spray and medications to take care of worms, ticks and infections such as the East Coast fever.