When a natural disaster happens the first ones to get help are the humans, but we should not forget that animals are also victims in such instances and require our help as well.
The latest typhoon to hit the Philippines was Yolanda and it left 3,976 people dead. More than 1,600 people are still missing. The United Nations estimates up to four million people have been displaced, but only 350,000 have found shelter in evacuation centers.
While people are able to speak up and ask for help, animals have been abandoned to fend for themselves. Today, dogs, cats and farm animals roam the streets scavenging for food.
“You can see that the animals were also affected by the typhoon because they lost their usual sources of food, their human shelters and human masters,” HSI-Asia director Rahul Seghal told GMA News Online. “A lot of people can’t see it, but animals do experience trauma after calamities such as this.”
Three days after the typhoon hit the island, the Humane Society International (HSI) deployed an 11-man rescue group to assist and rescue as many abandoned companion animals as possible.
HSI set up a mobile veterinary clinic where survivors can go with their wounded pets to receive medical assistance. But while at the mobile clinic, volunteers realized that a greater need among the abandoned animals was food. For this reason, the HIS team organized feeding and watering stations in 14 towns in Leyte aside from a mobile veterinary clinic based in Tacloban.
In eight days alone the HSI team used over 200 kilos of dog food and several packs of cat food. HSI is feeding many animals in need.
HSI veterinarians have also vaccinated and dewormed animals to protect them from diseases. But there is still a lot more to do for the displaced pets.
A temporary shelter has been set up in Cebu and HSI volunteers transport as many animals as they can there. They hope that pet owners will come claim their lost pets, and those that cannot be reunited with their original owners can find new loving forever homes.
Owners who wish to locate their lost pets may call HSI’s rescue hotline at 0916-386-9126.