China's Earthquake: Help Is On It's Way
Survivor Zhou Kanglong lost his wife and son in the earthquake. These two dogs are his only companions now. “If I have a bite to eat, they will too”, he said.
A message came into IFAW China office on Monday morning from the Sichuan Provincial Station of Animal Epidemic Prevention and Control. Information collected from areas that have communications restored shows that over 12 million domestic animals may have perished in the quake.
In Mianyang city alone, 5.2 million livestock and poultry have died. Enclosures have collapsed and broken that many pigs, chicken and rabbits have escaped and roaming the quake devastated area. 300,000 animals urgently need food and water. The main roadway leading into the area is still in repair, animal feed is not getting into the affected area.
The veterinarian department in Mianyang city asked IFAW to help and is compiling a list of urgently needed supplies and materials, which include animal feed, generators, water pumps, disinfectants and vaccinations for both people and animals.
IFAW China office and the Emergency Relief team spun into action immediately:
Getting specific information about the supplies, equipment and medicine urgently needed in the quake affected area, sourcing them in China and abroad, contacting government agencies to get official permission to transport the materials into the epicenter, and contacting humanitarian aid agencies to donate disaster relief supplies for humans.
Another miracle came out of Mian Zhu, another devastated city at the epicenter today.
After buried under the rubbles for 196 hours, a 60-year old woman with her two dogs were found. When she was able to speak and thank the rescuers, WANG Youqiong couldn’t stop telling everyone how the two dogs kept her company and gave her the will to survive. They constantly licked her face and kept her warm. They shared the drops of rain water that seeped through the rocks and concrete on top of them. They were found because the dogs barked when hearing sound of people above, catching the attention of another resident of Mian Zhu looking for his own family.
While I marvel the will of survival that exists in both people and animals, I couldn’t help but moved by the selfless loyalty and affection given to us by our companion animals. In times of need, they come through again and again for us. IFAW’s companion animal website in China www.ifaw-arc.org.cn carries numerous stories about search and rescue dogs that tirelessly searched through the rubble looking for survivors. Stepping through sharp edged concrete, steel and glass, the dogs’ paws and legs often got injured. One such dog found 14 students buried under a collapsed classroom. One was so insistent on getting a human victim that refused to back off even during an aftershock. He died in the line of duty!
And in the aftermath of this tragic earthquake, I am pleased to see people reciprocate this affection, love and loyalty to their pets.