VERUs act as Regional Training Centres with a primary task to deliver trainings on animal specific issues related to disaster management for the veterinary students, para veterinarians, farmers, communities and other stakeholders.
The Veterinary Emergency Response Unit (VERU), South Zone at Madras Veterinary College was started in the year 2013. A VERU is an organised group of veterinary students, structured and trained for rapid response, with the aim of benefiting the welfare of animals and livelihood of the community in all stages of the disaster cycle guided by few staff members trained in disaster management.
India has been vulnerable to varying degrees of local to large number of natural disasters like earthquakes, flash floods, tsunamis, major landslides and cyclones on account of its unique geo-climatic conditions. On average, direct natural disasters losses amount to up to 2% of India’s GDP. Around 94830 cattle are lost per year due to floods in India as confirmed in the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) Flood Guidelines.
Looking into the increase in incidence of natural calamities all over the country and increasing importance of Disaster Management, Veterinary Council of India (VCI) has introduced a course on Disaster Management in B.V.Sc. & A.H. degree programme and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has introduced a course on Animal Disaster Management in the post-graduate curriculum of veterinary and animal sciences.
Realizing the key role of veterinary institutions to nurture and train young veterinary professionals on veterinary emergency response operations to meet the needs of animals from disasters in India, the NDMA, World Animal Protection (WAP) and Veterinary Universities collaborated together and initiated the Veterinary Response Unit (VERU). VERUs based in the veterinary universities develop capacities to support immediate response needs of animals and act as risk reduction models in the form of awareness, contingency planning and mitigation measures