VIÑA DEL MAR, Chile—A disaster relief team from animal charity Humane Society International will deploy to Chile this weekend to help hundreds of animal victims of the devastating wildfires. Thousands of people have been affected in central and southern Chile, including hundreds who are missing or dead. Alongside this human tragedy, potentially hundreds of companion animals are suffering with burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries, with many dogs and cats displaced with or without their families.
Members of HSI’s disaster relief team deploying to Chile have years of experience in animal search and rescue, including during Australia’s wildfires in 2020 and the earthquakes in Türkiye last year. Initially based at a veterinary field hospital in Viña del Mar, HSI’s team of experienced disaster responders will be coming from the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica over the next weeks, to assist local volunteers in the aid effort for injured and displaced animals. Responders will also help expand capacity in other affected areas, implement a system for reuniting pets with their people and distribute much needed food, water and veterinary supplies. Additionally, HSI will provide an emergency grant of financial aid to local rescue group Fundación Quiltro to help get veterinary and relief supplies to the animals and their people most in need.
HSI’s Chile country director, Daniela Sanchez, says: “This the deadliest wildfire in Chilean history has brought devastation and tragic loss of life to both the people and animals of Chile. Dogs and cats are coming into the field hospital with painful burns, smoke inhalation, as well as injuries, shock, dehydration and malnutrition. Some animals have been picked up alone and afraid, separated from their human families. Humane Society International’s disaster relief team will be helping local volunteers and veterinarians provide care for these animal victims, as well as distributing vital food, water and medical supplies. When people have lost everything in a disaster like this or experienced the trauma of such a devastating event, knowing that their animal friends are safe can bring enormous comfort, so HSI is keen to help in any way we can.”
Once established on the ground, we will be providing video b-roll and photos from our deployment and will have both English and Spanish speaking spokespeople at the scene available for interviews on request.
Donate to HSI’s Animal Rescue Fund here to provide grants, vital supplies and fund our teams in emergency situations such as this and other crises.
Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: email@example.com