Near-miss Hurricane Patricia proves emergency response network ready to go

While preparing for the crisis, we built and consolidated a nationwide network of animal welfare organizations .It was the evening of October 23, and Hurricane Patricia—the biggest and strongest storm recorded in decades—was going to hit the Pacific Coast of Mexico during the night.

The news on TV and social media made me feel as if I were in a Hollywood apocalyptic movie. We were expecting the worst.

The forecast was for major destruction, but in the end, as we all know now, thanks to the mountains and other factors, the Hurricane became a tropical storm before landfall.

There were landslides and some flooding, but on a minor scale.

The positive thing about this?

While preparing for the crisis, we built and consolidated a nationwide network of animal welfare organizations and academics to work in collaboration with authorities and rescue teams after the Hurricane.

This network consisted of more than 40 local rescue groups and shelters, academics from the Faculty of Veterinary Studies from the National University of Mexico (UNAM), as well as international organizations such as Humane Society International Mexico and World Animal Protection.

This unprecedented collaboration amongst such a diverse group is something we should all be proud of and celebrate!

After a deep assessment, the great news was that our physical presence or deploying a team was not needed, since all the affected communities could be assisted by local authorities and rescue groups.

We did support a group of local veterinarians called Vets SOS, who delivered veterinary aid to dogs, cats and livestock, as well as pet food and supplies for animals and humans. Thanks to this network, we also assured the transportation and delivery of pet food, water and other human-animal supplies that were gathered in several collection centers at Mexico City, to then be distributed to the most affected communities.

I can only congratulate the authorities and all the members of this network for doing an amazing job in prevention and reaction to minimize what could have easily become a disaster.

--JDLT

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