Brooke India has stepped up its appeal to help communities affected by the Covid-19 crisis after a fatal cyclone tore through India’s west coast, impacting more than 600 owners and over 3,600 horses, donkeys and mules.

In the week between 17 and 21 May, Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 91 people, damaged thousands of houses and boats, and caused flooding across Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

It comes after dressage stars Charlotte Dujardin and Alice Oppenheimer announced that they are backing an emergency appeal by Brooke to raise £100,000 to support working horses, donkeys and mules impacted by India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis.

Damage at a brick kiln in Bharuch. Photo: Brooke

The animals are relied on for carrying essential supplies of food and water for their communities and their health is key to helping their owners recover from the economic and health impacts of the virus.

Brooke operates in Maharashtra and Gujarat, where families work together in brick kilns, often in low quality housing.

A statement from the charity said: “Life is tough already, but this has been greatly compounded by Covid-19.

“The cyclone knocked down many living quarters, destroyed animal shelters and flooded areas where owners had been trying to grow fodder for their animals using hydroponics.

Donkey owner Maheshbhai offers Kari feed from a bowl after the cyclone destroys the manger that donkeys usually feed from. Photo: Brooke

“Food has been damaged, as well as stocks of dry fodder and feed that had been purchased for feeding donkeys.”

Covid-19 continues to rage through India and Brooke is in the process of providing subsidised balanced feed or fodder to more than 1,600 horses, donkeys and mules across a variety of projects, helping over 1,300 owners.

Brooke is also distributing partly subsidised first aid kits, which will help over 1,700 owners to care for their animals while going through financial difficulties.

As a result of the cyclone, Brooke’s team has increased the subsidy given for feed or fodder and first aid kits by 90% for equine owners in the worst-hit zones. Vet staff have also been providing emergency treatment.

“Money raised from the wider India Emergency Appeal will be used for those in greatest need at this time, which will include those affected by the cyclone,” added the statement.

To help Brooke continue to support communities and working equines donate here.

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer