Update, June 26, 2018: The HSI team, including nine veterinarians and disaster responders from HSI/Mexico and HSI/Latin America, arrived in Guatemala on June 16. Over the course of a week, they provided emergency veterinary service to 912 animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, horses and other animals. They treated burn injuries, stitched wounds, and distributed lifesaving medication, surgical equipment and other supplies. They provided shelter and food for sick, injured, lost and abandoned animals in some of the worst affected communities, including Escuintla, Alotenango and Chimaltenango.
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala—A team of veterinarians from animal charity Humane Society International is on the ground in Guatemala providing emergency treatment to dogs, cats, chickens, horses and other animals affected by the Volcan de Fuego eruptions. HSI’s team is also bringing vital medicines, surgical equipment and other supplies, as well as helping to provide shelter and food for sick, injured, lost and abandoned animals.
One of HSI’s specialties is responding to the needs of animals following disasters, and it has been working alongside its local Country Director and Guatemala’s Animal Welfare Unit to complement the humanitarian relief effort by providing help to animals in the worst affected areas of Escuintla, Sacatepequez, and Chimaltenango where our veterinarians walked the devastated area for six kilometres looking for signs of life. In other areas, veterinary care is being given to any animal in need we encounter, such as a dog named Canelo found collapsed in the road in the town of Escuintla and horses found with devastating burn injuries from hot ash. Canelo is now recovering. The team also treated dozens of other animals for minor injuries and distemper in El Rodeo.
HSI has treated almost 300 animals so far. Some of the worst affected animals are those who are starving or without shelter after their owners were injured or evacuated. HSI’s team is working in very challenging conditions, and is periodically forced to evacuate the area when it rains due to the risk of landslides from the volcano.
Dr. Claudia Edwards, DVM, HSI/Mexico programs director, is heading up HSI’s Animal Rescue Team on the ground, and says: “HSI’s veterinarians are right in the heart of the disaster zone, helping animals by tending to their injuries, stitching wounds, treating breathing problems and burns from the hot ash, and providing vital medication. It’s incredibly distressing to witness, but amidst this devastation and danger, we are so thankful that our team is able to be here saving pets and other animals. Many people managed to save their animals before fleeing, but for those left behind, receiving veterinary attention can be the difference between life and death, so we are treating as many as we can.”
HSI is asking for donations to its International Disaster Fund to help the charity continue providing essential veterinary medicines, food, water, blankets, shelter materials and transport for this response and for other disasters around the world. Donate to: hsi.org/disasteraid
Photos from our animal rescue efforts in Guatemala are available here.
Media contact: In UK: Wendy Higgins, firstname.lastname@example.org