A team of Mexican veterinarians from Humane Society International, a leading global animal welfare organization, has spent the last week in Haiti providing emergency animal rescue and treatment following the devastation left by Hurricane Matthew. The team set up emergency clinics in four communities near Port au Prince and provided treatment for 1,236 animals, including horses, cows, donkeys, cats, dogs, goats, sheep, pigs, mules, calves and chickens.
In a country severely affected by natural disasters and complex economic problems, animals are in many cases all that people who have lost their homes and families have left.
Dr. Claudia Edwards, program director of HSI/Mexico, who led the veterinary team on the ground, said: “I was very touched by the wonderful response from the communities we visited. People would bring their animals after walking sometimes for four hours and they would wait in line under the rain just to get a chance to have their animals treated and cured. These people love and care for their animals so much. Some were already lined up each morning before the clinic even started – often coming from surrounding villages and areas.”
The shortage of veterinarians and vet supplies available in Haiti prompted HSI to set up the clinics and bring in supplies. Preventative veterinary care and treatment is critical since the stress of the disaster coupled with a disruption of diet and routine can lead to devastating diseases within the animal population.
Donkeys, horses and mules were particularly affected by the disaster, many had to be treated for wounds resulting from having to carry too much weight in their backs along the damaged roads. HSI veterinarians educated people on how to saddle the donkeys and mules to avoid hurting them.
Prior to this effort, an HSI team of American and Dominican veterinarians had conducted assessments and set up clinics that treated 282 animals, in conjunction with the local organization 4Patte, a group that regularly runs veterinary clinics in the areas around Port Au Prince. Following the 2010 earthquake, HSI sent a veterinary team to Haiti and implemented a long-term response to the disaster.
Contactos para los medios: Raúl Arce-Contreras, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 301.721.6440