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WSPA is leading the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) team, comprised of international animal welfare groups, in preparation for swift deployment following a request for immediate assistance from the government of Haiti.
After discussing the desperate animal welfare situation with Haitian officials, WSPA was asked to deploy staff to help with the emergency relief operation ‘as soon as possible’.
In response, Gerardo Huertas, our Director of Disaster Management for the Americas, is expected to be on the ground this Saturday, 23 January, along with the rest of the ARCH team.
We will be ready to treat companion animals, such as dogs, as well as any farm animals we find in the vicinity of Port-au-Prince.
In his official letter to WSPA, Haiti’s Director of Inspection and Vigilance for the Environment outlined the clear and immediate need for animal welfare professionals on the island.
He wrote, “given the magnitude of the disaster suffered by Haiti, putting the country under great risk of infecto-contagious diseases spread and possible animal epidemic outbreaks … both the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Department… have agreed that WSPA aid is very important… (and) suggest that WSPA should organise a trip to Haiti as soon as possible.”
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“Over the last few days, WSPA’s team of highly trained emergency relief staff have been preparing for just such an opportunity,” says Gerardo.
“We have put together the equipment and medicines that we expect will be needed in Haiti and are flying in to Santo Domingo today, in order to proceed into Port-au-Prince at the earliest possible opportunity.”
He explains the significance of the Environmental Department’s letter: “This official request from the Haitians makes me even more confident that we, and our colleagues joining the coordinated ARCH effort, will be in Haiti very shortly and will be able to complete a first-hand assessment of the situation on the ground.”
WSPA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) came together to form ARCH shortly after the first terrible earthquake rocked Haiti on 12 January 2010.
We are coordinating efforts with our colleagues in the field to animal welfare to ensure both that all animal welfare organisations responding Haiti’s hour of need work together and that emergency aid reaches as many animals as possible, in as short a time as possible.
Please help us help Haiti’s animals by making a donation >>
Follow WSPA’s work in Haiti as it happens with our disaster management blog >>