Thursday, January 14, 2010
From the Humane Society of the United States: Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, for the trauma and loss they’ve already experienced since Tuesday night’s calamitous 7.0 earthquake hit, with its epicenter not far from the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince. News agencies report that thousands have perished, many are still trapped in the rubble of buildings, and hundreds of thousands of others are without shelter, medical care, or other life necessities. Governments and relief agencies are deploying to deal with what amounts to one of the worst disasters of modern times, with its impact compounded by the chronic poverty, deficient infrastructure, bare-bones medical care, and other problems that afflict the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Damage from the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti Logan Abass/United Nations / CC BY 2.0 Damage from the Jan. 12 earthquake. When people suffer in this terrible way, so do animals. The HSUS, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and our global affiliate Humane Society International are working on a preliminary assessment of Haiti’s animal-care needs, taking into account the security, transportation, housing, and supply challenges that we would face in deployment. Fortunately, one of our veterinary teams had been conducting a program at a veterinary school in the neighboring Dominican Republic when the quake struck. We are looking to determine if they can get into Haiti to conduct an on-the-ground assessment. We are also communicating with human relief agencies, and looking to cooperate with them. One difficulty is that there are no organized animal welfare groups anywhere in the country, and no animal shelters or veterinary schools. This lack of infrastructure will complicate any response. If you would like to support our disaster response work around the world, you can give here. Please stay tuned to the blog, and to humanesociety.org for continuing updates. The World Society for the Protection of Animals posts the following: Joining forces to help animals As I followed news about Haiti for the last two days, I was struck by how many people from around the world have started coming together, offering to help in any way they can. And animal welfare groups have shown that it is equally possible to work together to help the animal victims of this disaster – who are equally distressed by the destruction all around them, and equally in need of emergency aid – with a similar show of solidarity amongst groups. Together, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) will be working on the ground to help the animals in Haiti. We have come together to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) so that all animal welfare organizations involved in response efforts can work together and make sure we get aid to as many animals, and in as short a time, as possible. Our teams will be working out of a mobile clinic which has been donated to us by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society. WSPA and IFAW have pledged funds to fully outfit this mobile clinic, and it will be shipped from Antigua to our member society, Sociedad Dominicana Para la Protección de Animales (SODOPRECA) in the Dominican Republic for them to drive across the border into Haiti. We are inviting other animal welfare groups to join ARCH and direct their support to the coalition. Once again, this proves a simple but powerful truth: when people join together, amazing things can happen. Please, join us now and donate to help animals in disasters.