It is hard to truly grasp the devastation going on in Haiti. Videos and images tell the stories, but the true energy of Haiti is unimaginable outside of the country itself. Fortunately the efforts of organizations such as United Nation’s and the Red Cross have immediately stepped in helping the people of Haiti after the damage caused by the January 12th earthquake and its aftermath. Words cannot express this gratitude for the incredible people from across the world who have joined forces to save lives, assisting the people, children and the elderly.
But what about the animals during this crucial time?
Haiti’s animal population is estimated to be around 5 million; including strays, livestock, wildlife, and companion animals. Fortunately action is being taken. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have partnered together to lead a coalition of animal welfare groups to give vaccinations and supply food and water to the needy. There will also be mobile veterinary clinics set up stocked with the necessities to care for the animals.
And while there are not a high number of pets in Haiti, livestock is crucial to the country and its citizens. Goats alone make up 40-50% of the livestock population and some goats and cows are not giving milk, still shaken by the disaster. Fortunately groups like the Lambi Fund, an agricultural group, are assisting rural farmers by donating livestock with veterinary assistance and instructions on how to milk, breed and profit from the animal.
But we cannot forget about the dogs either. The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation teams and trained dogs are on the grounds of Haiti, and are dedicated to finding living buried victims in the debris. The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) has alsojumped in and begun rounding up the stray dogs in Haiti who have started traveling in packs. ARCH is ensuring that the stray and pack dogs get vaccinated, combating the spread of rabies, and feeding the animals so they do not have to scavenge among the rubble.
This is a crucial time to contribute to the relief efforts offered; every minute passed is vital; for people and animals.
There are many local and global organizations that you can support by donating to do your part. Go online, and donate. Every penny can make a difference for those in need.