The European Disaster Response team coordinates local stakeholders and advocates the inclusion of animals in disaster preparedness and response plans.
Extreme weather events and disasters are occurring around the world more than ever before, and the European region is no exception.
The magnitude and frequency of floods, wildfires, human conflicts, etc. has increased at a rate no one could have anticipated, unleashing devastation on a scale that is sadly becoming all too familiar. In Europe, government authorities and animal rescue organizations often work in isolation, resulting in disjointed response efforts. Government agencies and NGOs in Europe need a coordinated response for the collective impact to reach its full potential.
Intense planning and expert communication can mean the difference between life and death for people and animals. We believe that a coordinated response is crucial in addressing the risk and impact of emerging disasters on animals in Europe.
That is why we advocate for the improvement of disaster response policies at the European Union (EU) and national levels in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. We also support local stakeholders in building and strengthening their capacity, and help them prepare for and respond to animals in crisis. Our expertise draws on decades of experience in responding to extreme events around the world.
IFAW helps partners set up the necessary systems, processes and logistics in preparation of and during disasters. Our Rapid Response Team is ready to deploy at a moment's notice to support local stakeholders on the ground. We also award emergency grants to ensure authorities and organizations can purchase what they need locally to continue to care for their community’s animals.
In 2021, we issued a grant to Tierrettung Essen in Germany to purchase a quad, so they could rescue animals from difficult terrain and in remote areas during the floods in Limburg. We also provided Italian organization LAV with a grant to purchase veterinary medicine and other goods to rescue animals during flooding in Sicily following a hurricane. LAV was able to treat 1,680 dogs and 216 cats against intestinal, pulmonary and cardiac parasitic diseases.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, IFAW has been supporting partners in Ukraine and neighboring European countries. Between March and May, our team of IFAW-trained responders and veterinarians deployed to Poland to manage the only animal care tent at the Medyka border crossing with Ukraine, and to support Polish veterinary authorities at the Przemyśl train station.
In the first six months of the war, we disbursed over USD $1M to support animal rescue and relief efforts, and directly helped more than 75,000 animals, most of which were cats and dogs, but also horses and wild animals like bears, bats and tigers. In August, we also started a free vaccination, chipping and sterilization program in key cities in Ukraine. Our Ukraine crisis response is a multi-year commitment and we continue to provide critical aid—veterinary care, animal food, emergency funds, pet supplies—where it is needed most.
Whether through rehabilitating injured animals, reintroducing wildlife back into its natural environment, or reuniting families with their companion animals, IFAW works to return a sense of normalcy and hope to both human and animal communities that have suddenly found themselves in upheaval.
Help us rescue animals when disaster strikes
From fires in France to droughts in Somaliland, IFAW and our partners are responding to disasters around the world. We provide food, water, medical care, and other emergency assistance to animals in urgent need.