In the wake of devastating natural disasters in Indonesia, Samoa and the Philippines, WSPA has deployed emergency disaster assessment and response teams to ascertain the impact on animals. Initial assessments indicate that dogs and cats will have the greatest need for emergency relief.
‘The situation in the last few days has been terrible for Asian people and their animals, and the WSPA team has been putting in maximum effort to get to these areas to help animals who are suffering. The professionalism and rapid response of our field teams has meant that we can respond to all three disasters in an appropriate manner,’ says James Sawyer, WSPA's head of disaster management.
Already ravaged by storms that have killed hundreds of people, destroyed thousands of homes and left the capital city of Manila under water, the Philippines is now bracing for Cyclone Parma, which is expected to hit the islands as either a category 4 or category 5 (super-cyclone) storm.
A WSPA team is currently on the ground in Manila, meeting with relief groups and preparing for initial assessments of an emergency relief effort.
On Tuesday Samoa was devastated by a tsunami that wiped out entire villages and claimed the lives of more than 100 people – with the death toll expected to rise. Another earthquake on Wednesday has increased panic in the stricken region.
In response, WSPA has deployed Disaster Management Veterinarian Dr Juan Carlos Murillo to the islands. Dr Murillo is charged with making an immediate assessment with WSPA partner the Animal Protection Society of Samoa.
In addition, a team from New Zealand comprised of representatives from WSPA, the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Wellington and Auckland Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is scheduled to deploy to Western Samoa.
These teams will ascertain the tsunami’s impact on the island’s animals and treat animal victims.
Yesterday Indonesia was struck by two very strong earthquakes close to Pedang in Sumatra that killed hundreds of people and trapped thousands in the rubble.
WSPA is deploying Disaster Veterinarian Dr Ashish Sutar and veterinary intern Woranich Hintong to the area to liaise with relief groups and assess the need for animal relief there.
Why do animals need disaster relief?
Every year natural disasters wreak havoc on millions of people and their environment. When people's properties are destroyed, animals’ homes often disappear too.
Wild animals face the prospect of having to flee their home habitat to survive, while domesticated animals are at grave risk of remaining trapped and abandoned without food or water on farms, in people's homes, or even at zoos.
WSPA has run disaster relief operations for animals for more than 40 years and is often the first and sometimes the only organisation that will go to the heart of a disaster to save the lives of animals, and by extension, often protect the rural livelihoods of disaster-struck communities.
In 2008 our disaster relief teams helped more than 224,000 animals in 15 disaster-stricken countries around the world.