China's Earthquake: IFAW Supports Government Efforts
Nearly a week passed after the earthquake, hopes of finding more people alive is dwindling by the hour. At the same time, threats of disease from lack of clean water, sanitation facilities and the mountains of rubble with the dead underneath are mounting.
One MASH unit set up by the military reports that majority of the patients coming in are for diarrhea, colds and dog bites, with the first two types of cases at 75%. For dog bites, the MASH unit does not stock rabies post exposure vaccination. All the doctors and nurses can do is to wash the wounds of the patient with antiseptic liquid and send him away.
In China, the word rabies is translated as “mad dog disease”. It contains such scary connotations and people are so ignorant about its prevention and treatment, that often one case of rabies death in an area is enough to propel authorities into culling all dogs. Sadly, one area in the epicenter, Qing Chuan did start such a mass cull.
Today, IFAW issued an open letter to China’s President, expressing our desire to contribute to the relief efforts to help both people and animals. The letter says:
"We at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), representing over two million supporters around the world, would like to express our deepest sympathy to the Chinese people and to the victims of the devastating earthquake. We are impressed and encouraged by the government’s swift response to bring relief to the earthquake affected areas.
IFAW has provided emergency relief to areas devastated by natural disasters such as the earthquake in Kobe Japan, the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in the USA. Our assistance to rescue both people and animals includes dispatching search and rescue teams, providing medical supplies and equipment and inoculating animals to prevent the spread of disease.
IFAW stands ready to assist in your relief efforts by providing medical equipment and supplies for those injured in the quake. To ensure the heath and safety of people in the quake affected region, we would also like to offer our expertise in disease prevention in the coming days and months."