DISASTER relief teams from the London-based World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), an international UN-recognised charity representing nearly 500 member societies worldwide, are en route to aid the animal victims of the tsunami that has devastated several countries in South East Asia and assess what needs to be done.
Trained disaster relief specialists, WSPA veterinarians and field staff are expected to arrive in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand this weekend. The initial priority of the WSPA teams will be to make a fact-based assessment of the situation facing animals.
Working alongside local animal organisations in the countries concerned, WSPA workers will work to address and deal with the emergency needs of the animal victims of this disaster. It is highly likely that many surviving animals will be malnourished, dehydrated and at risk of disease.
Major General Peter Davies CB, WSPA Director General, said, "The effects of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami have become a humanitarian tragedy of truly horrendous proportions. In the countries badly hit by this disaster, livestock and working animals are vital to the lives of rural communities that depend upon them for their very survival. Supplies of vital veterinary medicines, such as antibiotics, can make the difference between life and death for animals in the aftermath of disaster and helping animals has a real impact on the long-term process of people rebuilding their shattered lives, particularly in farming communities."
Urgent assistance is already being provided to WSPA member societies in crisis-hit areas, with initial aid having been sent to help feed starving animals in India, and for food and veterinary supplies in Thailand.
With decades of experience in dealing with animals caught up in disasters, WSPA is mobilising and coordinating resources from animal welfare organisations around the world in an international relief effort to help the animal victims of this disaster.