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August 24, 2012

HSI Stands Ready to Assist Haitians and Their Animals

Humane Society International

  • Preparing for the coming storm. HSI

Update: Saturday morning, our team reported that the storm had hit hardest between 1 and 4 a.m. When we spoke with them, the power was out and it was still raining, with gusts of high wind happening periodically and a lot of debris down in the streets. Our director was still checking in with staff members, but fortunately our Animal Welfare Center did not sustain any major damage. We will head out later today if we’re able to a nearby tent city to assess the situation in the area and see if there is anything we can do to help. Mudslides and flooding are still potential dangers.

As Tropical Storm Isaac churns over Haiti, Humane Society International stands ready to help Haitians and their companion and working animals. Isaac is expected to bring heavy rain to most of the country, with maximum winds at 60 miles per hour.

“While Humane Society International operates a long-term recovery program in Haiti, our team is ready to respond to potential disasters,” said Amelia Muccio, a certified emergency manager and HSI’s director, Haiti Project and Disaster Operations. “We will conduct an assessment and, if needed, organize a campaign to assist the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture and humanitarian non-governmental organizations in Haiti in addressing the needs of humans and animals.”

The HSI team, including seven Haitian veterinarians, visited communities in Croix-des-Bouquets to educate residents about safety issues and how to prepare themselves and their pets. For many community members, meeting with the team members marked the first time they had learned of Isaac.

Owners and their animals may have significant needs after the storm. Haiti still is in recovery following the 2010 earthquake. About 400,000 Haitians and their animals displaced during the earthquake live in tent cities. These camps are filled with dogs, puppies, cats and farm animals. Haiti has about 1 million street dogs, many of which are used for security. In agriculture, working equines are critical to transporting goods, used in 70 percent of all goods moved through Haiti. It is imperative to protect and respond to the ailments and needs of working equines because their loss can impact the economic stability of their owners and their families.

About HSI's Haiti Project:

  • HSI came to Haiti in January 2010 after the 7.0 earthquake razed Port-au-Prince, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing millions. Since then, HSI has operated several key projects in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, including the only modernized animal care clinic in Croix-des-Bouquets that serves all types of animals, regardless of the owner’s ability to pay. HSI also provides field clinics for dogs, cats and working equines.
  • HSI works with humanitarian NGOs due to the interdependencies of animal and human health. HSI has begun a parasitology and zoonotic disease program and is examining the link between human and animal health. By improving the health of animals, the health of humans will also improve. Humans and animals share a tight space in Port-au-Prince and throughout Haiti—they struggle to survive together.
  • HSI has begun a community- and school-based humane education program that helps to establish improved relations between animals and humans. The curriculum covers issues of prevention of dog bites, animal behavior, rabies exposure and animal welfare.

We are grateful for the generous support of our partner, Best Friends Animal Society, without which we could not accomplish this vital work.

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Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations—backed by 11 million people. HSI fights for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. On the Web at hsi.org.

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