IFAW responds to Fiji floods

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sydney, Australia
Following the worst flooding in decades in Fiji this week, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org ) is working with the Fijian Government to assess the rescue needs of animals in the devastated region.
“The floods have been an overwhelming disaster for the people of Fiji. IFAW is pleased to be invited to work along side humanitarian relief efforts to save animals and minimize suffering in this time of crisis,” said Jorge Basave, IFAW Asia Pacific Emergency Responder.

“If needed, we will work with local welfare groups to feed and inoculate pets and livestock and set up welfare clinics to provide treatment for disease and vaccinations where it’s needed.  Not only does this help save animals lives but it helps to stop the spread of disease,” said Mr. Basave.

“When people are evacuated they are forced to leave their pets and livestock behind. With more rain expected and food already in short supply it is fair to say there will be little to spare for companion animals.  Farm land has also been washed away, or is under water so grazing land for livestock is also affected,” Mr. Basave said.

Severe flooding devastated the west coast of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, earlier this week forcing thousands of people to leave their homes, leaving behind unknown numbers of dogs, cats, pigs, cattle and horses.  These are the animals that people in Fiji rely on so it is important to ensure their welfare and to help people get back on their feet as the flooding recedes.

IFAW’s emergency relief teams are internationally recognized as leaders in directing disaster operations.  When disasters strike IFAW has teams on the ground carrying out search and rescue, vaccination and feeding programs.  These teams have rescued thousands of animals affected by both manmade disasters, such as oil spills, and natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes.  This has included efforts at hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in SE Asia in 2005, flooding in Mexico in 2007 and more recently the 2008 earthquake in China.

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Kerry Glenn (IFAW, Asia Pacific)
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