Our disaster management team were able to act swiftly, responding to the Haitian government’s request for our help within hours of our receiving an official invitation.
Coming together as ARCH
In the first days following the earthquake in Haiti, WSPA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) came together to set up the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) so that animal welfare organisations wanting to help the animals of Haiti could work together and take joint action for maximum impact. ARCH now has 19 member organisations acting together in Haiti, and you can follow reports from our joint efforts by visiting WSPA’s Animals in Disasters blog.
A team from ARCH has just completed an assessment of the animal welfare situation in Haiti, meeting with officials from various agencies including the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, in order to develop an effective course of action for the coming weeks and months.
The team found limited need for emergency animal relief work but there is considerable work ahead in the medium term and the long term.
Taking care to the communityThe main animal welfare challenge ahead of Haitians in the medium term is vaccination drives to prevent the threat of diseases, especially zoonoses, spreading amongst this vulnerable community. ARCH is equipped to meet these needs through an international team from various ARCH member organisations, who will travel to parts of Haiti outside the capital and administer veterinary treatment, vaccination and feed for both companion animals and livestock. The ARCH staff will operate on a weekly rotation in order to offer continued technical support to this team.
Long road to recovery
Given the complete collapse of infrastructure in Haiti, the main challenge ahead is the reconstruction of veterinary infrastructure. ARCH is planning several options, including:
Massive vaccination for bovine, ovine, horse/donkey, caprine and other hoofed animals.
Public awareness campaigns to encourage people to bring their animals to the facilities that ARCH is helping to put in place.
Refresh and train vets/public health (human) workers.
Setting up solar powered clinics and/or mobile clinics as well as purchasing equipment such as thermoses, ice coolers, refrigerators etc (to ensure that medications needing a ‘cold chain’ will be stored and transported at the right temperature) to support vaccination and treatment operations.
Purchasing consumables required – medicines, vaccines, etc – and distributing these to departmental/communal/local structures.
Working with the Haitians
As with any recovery operation that WSPA undertakes after a disaster, we are working in close consultation with the government and international agencies. At present we are in the process of working out a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Haiti, in order to plan the most effective way to rebuild and reinforce the country’s veterinary infrastructure. Although we are working with a proposal that could cost in excess of $1.2M, working together with our partners in ARCH means this financial challenge will be shared amongst us.
The money you contribute to WSPA’s Animals in Disasters fund will be used to finance both the immediate and the long term recovery work for Haiti and, if we raise more money than is required for the Haiti programme, we will invest donations in WSPA’s fund to prepare for any future disasters in other parts of the world.
Once again, thank you for supporting WSPA’s work and enabling us to respond to crises with the urgency required.