IFAW team aids thousands of animals in Indonesia earthquake disaster

Monday, 12 June, 2006
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) is working in Central Java to give vital aid to thousands of animals caught in the aftermath of the Indonesia Earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people.
IFAW’s Emergency Relief Team is working with CARE, a local animal welfare group, to provide veterinary care to livestock and other animals in the villages, south of Yogyakarta, which were flattened in the earthquake.
In the two weeks since the earthquake, animals treated by the team include: 3,977 cattle, 1,992 sheep, 150 pigs, 125 water buffalo, 46 dogs, 10 horses, 43 cats and thousands of chickens and ducks.
The team of 27 includes veterinarians, animal rehabilitators and veterinary students -- all working closely with local government veterinarians. The initial work focused on rescuing animals from collapsed buildings and treating injured animals.
The team has now split into five mobile units deployed to the devastated villages to provide medical care, feed, and other assistance.
“This has been a terrible disaster for the people of this region and an important factor in their recovery is the welfare of the livestock they depend upon as well as their pets. In hundreds of cases we have come across their animals are literally all some families have left,” said Jackson Zee, from the IFAW ER Team.
“Many villages are nothing but rubble with no water or electricity. To rebuild their lives these people are relying on the animals that provide their livelihood.”
The team is also helping to prepare for an animal evacuation from the erupting Mount Merapi volcano, which is only about 25 kilometres from the earthquake zone. Thousands of villagers have already evacuated the area around the foot of the mountain, which is constantly sending lava down from its 3,300 metre peak. However, the animals have been left behind with a few people to care for them.

Zee added: “The volcano had a major eruption a few days ago and has continued to be much more active in the past few days. When our team visited animals sheltered inside the cordoned off danger zone you could hear the eruptions, which are dramatic and often send lava flows up to seven kilometres down the hill.”
Dogs and cats that can’t be looked after by the evacuees are being provided with temporary shelter by the team in Yogyakarta and rehomed with families whose homes have not been damaged.

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