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March 11, 2010

Responding to Chile

Helping animals after an earthquake

  • Villages lay in ruins. © EMA of Tomé

  • Our partners helped animals big and small. © EMA of Tomé

  • Even under great stress, people were concerned for their animal companions. © EMA of Tomé

  • Parts of the region were devastated. © EMA of Tomé

    On February 27, 2010, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck central Chile, killing at least 300 people and displacing 1.5 million, as well as affecting countless animals.

    HSI is working with our local partner, the RIMA Foundation, funding a Chilean veterinary team of seven for an on-the-ground assessment of animal needs in the wake of the disaster.


    March 22, 2010

    HSI continues to support aid to animals in Chile following the earthquake of February 27, 2010.

    Our local partner, RIMA, has a team on the ground in affected areas. The responders have:

    • explained the need for animal care following disasters to the media, local officials and the public, including an interview on a Chilean radio station;
    • given more than 1000 kilograms of dog and cat food along with water, medicine and supplies to the public;
    • worked with local police and treated police horses and dogs;
    • set up a tent in a public square where people could bring their animals for veterinary attention, and promoted their services via the radio; and 
    • provided food and veterinary care to street dogs they have encountered.

    Altogether, the group provided veterinary care to approximately 430 animals during the second week of March, despite severe aftershocks and another tsunami alert. Many of the dogs they have encountered suffer from skin problems (ticks, fleas, mange) and internal parasites, as well as from neglect, abandonment or injury. Other animals had bone fractures, digestive or respiratory problems.

    The team has helped not only pets, but also street dogs, and reported that people were very thankful.

    Our local contacts will further intervene by providing parasite control and vaccination, as well as planning for mass spay-neuter and adoption campaigns with the continuing support of HSI.


    March 11, 2010

    Led by Dr. Sergio Muñoz Rodriguez of RIMA, the group of responding volunteers plans to travel to towns in the regions of Del Maule (VII) and Bio-Bio (VIII) to provide food, water and veterinary attention.

    In one of the first places they visited, the city of Constitución, a kind policeman generously offered to host them. Dividing into two teams—one to roam the streets and a second set up in the central square—they initially treated approximately 70 animals and distributed hundreds of pounds of food gathered by Animal Relief Chile (Socorro Animal Chile). They also met with the local health authority to explain the work they are doing. When aftershocks hit and a tsunami warning was sounded on March 11, people were evacuated to the hills. Fortunately, our group was unharmed.

    There is electricity but no water available in Constitución; our responders are offering water brought in from Santiago. They will likely use Constitución as their base to start with and check out nearby villages in the coming days.

    HSI is in close touch with the RIMA group and has offered further support pending the assessment.

    We last responded in Chile after the volcanic eruption of May 2008. Currently, we are also working on long-term plans to help animals and people after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

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