The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched an emergency animal health campaign across Iraq's Mosul area, which was recently retaken from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), reports NaijaAgroNet.
The campaign, NaijaAgroNet reports, is aimed at protecting and enhance the assets of 210 000 people who rely on rearing livestock for food and income in the Ninewa Governorate - of which Mosul is the capital. It includes vaccinating almost 1 million sheep, goats, cattle and buffalo and providing 1 500 tonnes of high-nutrient feed for 60 000 animals.
The campaign is being implemented in partnership with Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture, with funding from the Iraq Humanitarian Fund.
Ninewa has been profoundly affected by conflict since ISIL took control of central and north-western Iraq in 2014. More than one million people remain displaced, the majority staying within the governorate's boundaries in host communities or camps. Many families fled their homes with their livestock, most of which have not been vaccinated since ISIL took over the area.
FAO is concerned that these livestock are likely to carry highly contagious epidemic diseases that can spread rapidly across national and international borders to other herds and people, leading to serious socio-economic and public health consequences.
"If immediate measures are not taken, the effects on livestock production and food security could be devastating," said Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Representative in Iraq. "Through this animal health campaign, FAO aims to contain and prevent disease outbreaks in Ninewa and across Iraq, and stop these diseases spreading to other countries in the region."
The FAO-led initiative is the first comprehensive animal health campaign in the Mosul area since ISIL's arrival in 2014. Throughout the governorate, the remaining parts of which were retaken from ISIL in August this year,FAO plans to vaccinate the animals against six diseases: sheep and goat pox, brucellosis, enterotoxaemia, blackleg disease, lumpy skin disease, and foot-and-mouth disease.
FAO working with local partners