After the Quakes: How You Can Help Animals in Chile and Haiti
Rescue workers pull a dog from the rubble in Chile after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake of February 27, 2010. (Courtesy of WSPA.org)
As Chile struggles to recover after another round of intense aftershocks, the effects of the powerful earthquakes in both that country and Haiti continue to rattle the Western Hemisphere, leaving countless pets and animals in dire trouble.
Fortunately, many international aid organizations are joining forces to help the welfare of these animals. Created to address the needs of animals during the ongoing crisis in Haiti, the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) is headed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the ASPCA, in addition to a number of animal welfare groups such as American Humane, Best Friends Animal Society, the Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society International.
With this coalition now on the ground in Haiti, a mobile vet clinic — donated by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society — is treating injured pets and vaccinating every animal they come across in order to prevent an outbreak of rabies. The coalition is also working to deliver food and water to animals in the areas around Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince.
The group has pledged $1.1 million to improve animal welfare conditions in the island nation by training a minimum of 200 Haitian veterinarians and veterinary health workers, and by obtaining updated data about the country’s changing animal population.
Dr. Dick Green, with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, reports that veterinarians with the group are treating between 50 to 100 dogs every day.
"We're seeing a lot of injuries to the paws," Green said. "Everywhere you look the concrete is down, and we have concrete mixed in with glass and sharp objects, and these poor dogs are foraging through this rubble to try and find food."
In the aftermath of the earthquake in Chile, these same international animal welfare groups are eager to aid in the relief of animals, but some are still waiting for proper government clearances, while others have just established base camps. In the meantime, Ecopolis, a local animal welfare and animal rights organization, has been working to reunite lost pets with owners, save zoo animals from crumbling facilities and administer care to injured animals.
While relief efforts seem to be half a world away, there are things you can do to help the animals devastated by the events in Haiti and Chile. Here's how:
1. Stay Informed. Humanitarian crises can be perpetuated when they go unnoticed by the rest of the globe. The World Society for the Protection of Animals is keeping an updated blog on their efforts in both Haiti and Chile at AnimalsInDisasters.TypePad.com.
2. Contribute. Designed to deploy into disaster areas, many animal welfare groups still need additional funding to provide the appropriate aid that each crisis demands. To donate to ARCH, visit the websites of any of the three founding animal welfare groups: ASPCA.org, WSPA-International.org, or IFAW.org.
3. Volunteer. Traveling to a disaster area is not for everyone, but individuals who are veterinarians, technicians, and other animal workers can consider the possibility of providing hands-on help overseas through organizations such as VetsWithoutBordersUS.org or WorldVets.org.
4. Donate. Resources beyond money are needed to help the pets and animals caught in the middle of these earthquake disasters. Ecopolis has requested items such as dry pet food, food in tin cans, pet dishes for food and water, vet meds such as anti-parasitics and antibiotics, and veterinary equipment — including gloves, injection needles, and rubbing alcohol. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail supplies to: Coronel Toro Herrera Nº 595, Playa Ancha, Valparaiso, Chile.
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