IFAW animal rescue underway in quake-ravaged Italy

Friday, April 17, 2009
Yarmouth Port, MA

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck central Italy on April 6 has reportedly killed 294 people and left approximately 40,000 people homeless and living in tent cities in the Abruzzo Region. Hundreds of animals perished as buildings, houses, and barns collapsed. Many human and animal survivors are struggling to get by, injured and still in shock from the devastation all around. More than 2,000 cats and dogs are estimated to have been left homeless by the quake – the country’s worst in three decades. Animal rescue teams from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) are working with Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale” (IZS) to provide veterinary care, food, and medical supplies to surviving pets and farm animals.

“One of the immediate challenges faced at this time is with displaced pets that need food in the tent cities,” said IFAW veterinarian Anand Ramanathan. “Another urgent problem is locating livestock in the mountains, especially cattle which need to be milked periodically. If we don’t reach these animals in time, the result could be mastitis or other dangerous infections.”

Immediately after the quake hit, a 24-hour Veterinary Emergency Hotline was set up and IZS began treating injured animals. The hotline has received more than 240 rescue calls to reunite lost pets with owners, provide emergency veterinary care or dispose of animal carcasses. The hotline has proved a vital link to reunite owners and pets, adopt lost animals to new homes and distribute pet food and livestock fodder to affected animals across the region.

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