IFAW Disaster Response team deploys to Dominica to help island ravaged by Hurricane Maria

Imperial parrot Dominica
Friday, 20 October, 2017
Washington D.C.

The island nation of Dominica suffered terribly after hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean last month. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is sending food, supplies, and an expert team of disaster responders to help the community, their animals, and wildlife. 

“It broke my heart to see my home so devastated by this hurricane,” said Kelvin Alie, Executive Vice President at IFAW, who hails from the island. “Dominica was hit so hard, with every community severely impacted by Hurricane Maria. Gaining access to the island has been a challenge and only recently were the lines of communication restored. A number of communities are still without water and electricity.  Thankfully we can now deliver much needed supplies, and put boots on the ground, to help people and their animals.”

The Government of Dominica’s Division of Forestry, Wildlife and National Parks invited IFAW’s disaster responders to bring food and other supplies, as well as perform an in-depth assessment of the needs of community animals and wildlife on the island. IFAW has partnered with Jake Levenson of the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization and Shane Gero of the Dominica Sperm Whale Project, two organizations with extensive ties to the island, to complete this essential mission.

“Dominica is a very special place, with a huge amount of biological diversity,” said Shannon Walajtys, Disaster Response Manager at IFAW. “We’ll be helping dogs, cats, and farm animals, but also determining the best approach to protect the island’s endangered species in the face of such terrible destruction.”

Iconic species such as the imperial amazon parrot and the hawksbill sea turtle make their homes on the island. With trees uprooted and foliage ripped from the forest canopy, birds, lizards, and other wildlife are struggling to survive. Sea turtle nesting grounds have also been disturbed, imperiling the next generation of these endangered animals. IFAW, our partners, and the Government of Dominica are committed to assisting these animals in these extraordinary circumstances.

“The homes and livelihoods of our close friends and colleagues have been destroyed,” said Shane Gero of the Dominica Sperm Whale Project. “The recovery is a long term project but we are determined to be there and assist the individuals and organizations we have worked with so closely over the years.”

About Disaster Response 

IFAW dispatches emergency response teams to any and all areas around the world where animals are in distress due to natural and man-made disasters. We lead, fund and provide assistance to animal rescue groups to assess disaster situations, formulate plans, and take action. IFAW provides food, equipment, medical supplies, and emergency expertise to help rescue, provide care, and reunify pets with their families and/or return wildlife to the world. ERNs build local response capacity for our partners through best practices which standardize preparedness, response and recovery protocols at the community level.

For more information about IFAW’s Disaster Response work, please visit www.ifaw.org

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on social @IFAWEU and Facebook/IFAW.

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