Help for animals arrives in Haiti
“The condition of these animals before the earthquake was not good, so we can’t just simply put things back as they were,” said Ian Robinson, IFAW’s Director of Emergency Relief. “We need to deliver immediate relief to animals and to develop long-term plans for a lasting good.”
“Eleven days after the earthquake, we found a city in ruins; the country will not be able to start the massive rebuilding work required while its economy is broken.,” said Gerardo Huertas, WSPA Disaster Management Director for the Americas, “But we have also met very professional people in the Government, who have shown a deep interest in working together with us and are committed to provide us the support we need to undertake the tasks ahead.”
“We had not considered including animals in the plans we're working up now, but after meeting the ARCH team, we can see that it would be good to do so,” said Jean Marie Claude Germain, the Haitian Minister of Environment. “In addition to preventing deforestation and protecting our water reserves, we are also discussing the need for a vaccination program in order to prevent the spread of diseases amongst the animal populations.”
Only about 100,000 Haitian dogs (out of an estimated population of 500,000) were vaccinated against rabies last year. In addition, the Haitian government lacks sufficient medicines and vaccines to protect pigs, cattle, and other livestock against common illness, such as anthrax and pig cholera.
“We are now at high risk of disease, which is why it is so important to start a vaccination campaign as soon as possible,” said Dr. Michel Chancy, Haiti’s Minister of Animal Production. The first shipment of medicine and equipment needed to treat animals is expected to arrive in Port au Prince from the Dominican Republic today.
Most members of the ARCH team have returned to Santo Domingo, in order to assemble supplies for the next emergency relief exercise. The coalition team will also continue its assessment in the areas beyond Port-au-Prince, implementing immediate veterinary aid to animals in cooperation with the Haitian government.
About ARCH Coalition
The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) is jointly led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in partnership with over a dozen of the world’s leading animal protection organizations.
Animal welfare organizations formed the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) so that we could work together to bring aid to as many animals, and in as short a time, as possible. At present, ARCH partners include: International Fund for Animal Welfare, World Society for the Protection of Animals, American Humane Association, Best Friends Animal Society, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK), In Defense of Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, United Animal Nations, Kinship Circle, One Voice, Swiss Animal Protection and Petfinder.com Foundation. ARCH members urge other animal welfare groups to join in the group efforts.