Webinar following Chilean fires expands capacity to care for animals in crisis

Humane Society International / Latin America

Claudio Ramirez for HSI

CHILE—More than 300 people took part in a webinar on disaster response organized by the Responsible Ownership Program of the Undersecretary of Regional and Administrative Development of the Chilean government and supported by Humane Society International/Latin America.

The webinar came after the fires that affected Chile between December 2022 and March 2023, when Humane Society International in Chile distributed veterinary first aid equipment, medicine and food to local organizations in support of the rescue and care of wildlife, domestic animals and farm animals.

The webinar, “Animal Dimension in Disaster Response: International Experiences and Global Learning,” was held on June 1, with participants from countries including the United States, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and a large number of municipal officials from different regions of Chile.

“We are pleased to participate in this type of initiative since it is our duty to extend the learning acquired in each animal disaster response experience. We hope that the lessons shared will strengthen and inspire the work of people in Latin America who are on the front lines helping animals,” said Adam Parascándola, vice president of Humane Society International’s Animal Rescue Team.

“One of the strengths of this seminar was the discussion between the different stakeholders involved in the prevention, attention and mitigation of disasters. We learned that an animal rescue manual has been developed in Chile and that the discussions on the Animal Dimension are within the framework of ‘One Health’. It was interesting to hear, for example, that, during the Seminar, the Municipality of Chañaral committed to making an annex to its disaster care plan to include rescue and animal care in an emergency,” said Dr. Claudia Edwards, regional coordinator of disaster response for Humane Society International/Latin America.

“In highly vulnerable countries like Chile, we believe that the way to advance and grow is to work collaboratively with the authorities, and with the relevant stakeholders at the local level. This seminar was an example of collaboration that allowed us to extend the knowledge that HSI has acquired over time and raise awareness about the importance of considering animals in disaster response plans,” said Daniela Sánchez, country director for Humane Society International in Chile.

During the day, speakers shared their experience in disasters such as the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala, Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, earthquakes in Mexico and Türkiye, fires in Australia and California, and the war in Ukraine. Topics included HSI’s global disaster response program, community preparedness, veterinary work and the rescue of wild and domestic animals.


Media Contact: Daniela Sanchez: (+56 9) 62181089; dsanchez@hsi.org

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