May 1, 2015
Animal Victims of Nepal’s Earthquake Receive Emergency Aid from Humane Society International’s Veterinary Medical Team
HSI helps dogs, cows, goats, chickens and people alike in strike zone
Animals injured or abandoned as a result of Nepal’s devastating earthquake are receiving emergency veterinary aid and care from Humane Society International’s Animal Rescue Team. HSI is working with our partner organisations such as Animal Welfare Network of Nepal in Kathmandu to provide life-saving veterinary medicines, vaccinations, surgical equipment and other supplies, as well as looking into providing shelter and food for sick, injured, lost and abandoned animals.
Alongside the thousands of people killed or displaced after the earthquake, thousands of animals are also struggling to cope with the aftermath. Many have sustained injuries from being trapped in collapsed buildings or hit by falling debris; thousands of animals have been crushed to death or buried alive in the disaster.
Rahul Sehgal, director of HSI Asia, said: “There is complete devastation in many areas for people and animals alike, and we’re helping both. For many people, their animals are all they have left, so HSI’s animal aid is a vital lifeline. Today the team has visited several affected areas where the surviving animals are living in stressful conditions, often exposed to the elements and in need of basic veterinary care and medicines. We are attempting to locate a facility to serve as a temporary shelter for animals who have been left behind as well as for animals in critical need as assessed by the team. We also helped a man who was singlehandedly trying to clear out the rubble of his home so that he could retrieve whatever worldly possessions he had left. Compassion doesn’t care if you have two legs or four.”
In Sengden Village a remote village outside Kathmandu where 85 per cent of the houses were levelled, people and animals are living in makeshift tents. One woman encountered by our team, Mrs Purnima Tamang, is all alone without family except for her flock of eight goats that she refuses to leave as they all shelter together in what remains of her home. “Call them what you want – my property, my family, my friends, they are all I have left,” she told HSI’s rescue team.
Her goats are suffering from exposure, having been soaked by rain for five days, and so HSI veterinarians are treating their respiratory problems and will return to help Mrs Tamang with medicine and food.
In every village HSI has visited so far, animals are getting sick from exposure in the heavy rain; many are too sick to eat, and most of the animal feed is buried in the rubble anyway. Complicating matters is that many of these villages are not easily reached as they are remote and reached only by mountainous dirt roads. It is a desperate situation, and HSI veterinarians have been the first responders on the ground to provide aid in many of these villages.
Seghal, said: “We are seeing a wide variety of animal issues here such as animals lacking shelter, food and medicines. We were able to provide treatment for some physical injuries such as cuts and lacerations, but we realize that the disaster for the surviving animals has just begun. In the absence of basic needs most of the goats are already showing signs of respiratory stress and almost all animals have diarrhoea. These signs indicate the urgent need to provide veterinary care to prevent onset of life threatening diseases. These animals have already survived a large scale disaster and it would be heart-breaking to see them succumb to something as easily preventable as respiratory diseases.. The humanitarian teams are vaccinating people and we’re working alongside them vaccinating animals. Everyone needs help here.”
We will continue to provide updates as well as photos from our animal rescue efforts in Nepal. Email the HSI media contacts to be kept informed of developments. Donations are urgently needed to support our lifesaving efforts in Nepal and wherever animals and humans are affected by disaster.
In US: Raul Arce-Contreras, firstname.lastname@example.org +1 240 620 3263
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In UK: Wendy Higgins, firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7989 972 423