Animals in Myanmar Need Help

Friday, May 9, 2008
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts
Cyclone Nargis has devastated Myanmar and, according to state media, has killed 22,980 and left 42,119 missing. United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes said the death toll could rise “very significantly” as food shortages and disease set in. Media reports estimate that the death toll may reach more than 100,000 people. IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) is standing ready with a team to help animals in need, however the visa process is expected to take a week or more.
“We are monitoring the situation as best we can but it is critical that IFAW get a team on the ground to assess the affect of the disaster on animals,” said Fred O’Regan, CEO of IFAW. “The sooner the better. When animals with lowered immune systems crowd together on high ground, in wet conditions, outbreaks of endemic diseases such as Foot and Mouth become a grave concern.”
 
IFAW has offered Myanmar veterinarians and resources to help animals affected by the devastation. Animal rescue, feeding and vaccination programs, antibiotics, deworming, and wildlife rehabilitation are probable needs within Myanmar. Because many impoverished families in Myanmar depend on animals for their livelihood, outbreaks of disease in animal populations could have devastating effects on both animals and people. Long term human survival is dependent upon their animals.
 
As with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Southeast Asia tsunami, and many other natural disasters around the world, IFAW’s ER team is ready to respond with teams on the ground, to assist regional and national rescue groups, and in whatever ways possible.  We anticipate that there will be a great need for help with displaced livestock, with companion animals, and of course with human survivors. 
 
Our thoughts are with the people of Myanmar in this extremely difficult time.  IFAW is ready to help in whatever way we can.

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