IFAW helps dogs after volcano forces evacuation of Indonesian villages

Thursday, 6 July, 2006
Yogyakarta, Indonesia,
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) is working near Mt. Merapi, Indonesia to help dogs left behind after volcanic eruptions forced the evacuation of nearby residents.
Mt. Merapi, a 2,965-meter-high volcano, has threatened eruption since May 13 and has spewed sulfur and heat clouds into the sky. On June 16, a 700-degree Celsius heat cloud struck nearby villages and spread ash across areas of Yogyakarta and Central Java – forcing scores of people to evacuate their homes. Mt. Merapi last erupted in 1994 killing at least 66 people. An eruption in 1930 killed 1,370 people.
The threatening volcano has forced nearby residents into refugee camps. Refugees abandon their homes but often leave behind dogs to guard houses and possessions. The dogs loyally guard the homes despite the risk of being struck by fallout from the volcano at anytime. Often there is no water or food available for these dogs. 
IFAW is working with CARE, an Indonesian animal welfare group, to provide food, drinking water and medical care for these loyal guard dogs. Temporary and permanent water stations have been set up in the area and a 20-person team is working to help all the animals affected by the volcano. The organizations are also partnering to feed cattle in the area and to create a database of dogs located in the 18 villages near the slope of Mt. Merapi. Dogs and cats that can’t be looked after by the evacuees are given temporary shelter by IFAW’s team in Yogyakarta and rehomed with families whose homes have not been damaged.
“These animals are completely vulnerable to a volcanic eruption but fiercely loyal to their owners,” said Anand Ramanathan of IFAW. “IFAW and CARE are working hard to make sure that all the animals in the area have someone looking after them and caring for them in this time of crisis.”

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