[Brussels, Belgium, 29 March 2022] – To help care for refugees evacuating Ukraine and their pets, IFAW has assumed management of the only animal service station—a tent located at the Medyka footpath border crossing between Ukraine and Poland. The Medyka footpath is one of the busiest and most direct routes into Poland. It is estimated that 80% of refugees and their pets cross the border using this footpath.
Trained responders, veterinarians and local volunteers from IFAW rotate in 12-hour shifts to provide 24/7 access to pet food, triage veterinary care and supplies for families fleeing with their pets.
Two German NGOs, Deutscher Tierschutzbund (DTSchB) and Bundesverband Gemeinschaft Deutscher Tierrettungsdienste (GTD), initially set up the animal service station and have helped animals and refugees at the border crossing since the beginning of the war.
Animals that arrive for care are traumatized from the war and stressed from long days of travel to the border crossing. The most common health issues documented by veterinarians at the station are malnutrition, dehydration, hypothermia and stiff joints from being carried in cardboard boxes, coats and plastic bags.
“There is an overwhelming need for pet supplies and basic veterinary care at the main border crossing near Medyka. Refugee families have fled the war in Ukraine, many of them bringing their pets with them. Our German partners have done an excellent job providing emergency assistance to thousands of pets crossing the border and IFAW is honored to continue their good work. Our teams are onsite and already helping hundreds of animals arriving in Poland,” said Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Senior Program Officer for European Disaster Response & Risk Reduction at IFAW.
“We are pleased that our efforts are being strengthened through international cooperation with IFAW on behalf of the animals and that the help at the border is continuing,” said Thomas Schröder, President of Deutscher Tierschutzbund. “In recent weeks, Bundesverband Gemeinschaft Deutscher Tierrettungsdienste has worked hand in hand with employees of the Deutscher Tierschutzbund. Together we will continue to support the camp with everything that is possible.”
Another key transit location for refugees and their pets is the Przemyśl train station. Recent attacks in Lviv have caused lengthy train delays for refugees, with many families waiting on trains for days at a time before arriving in Poland.
IFAW has worked with the Polish veterinary authorities to support Polish veterinarians operating the animal border control by supplying pet food, water and items such as carriers, leashes, harnesses and muzzles.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, IFAW has rushed emergency aid to IFAW partner shelters and other animal shelters, zoos and sanctuaries in Ukraine and Poland. For more than two weeks, IFAW’s emergency response team has been on the ground in Poland, coordinating work with government authorities, local NGOs and other organizations to help as many people and animals as possible.
Photos available upon request.
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