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(Updated 20/02/01)

Emergency relief team sent to help the animal casualties of India's earthquake


An emergency relief team from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has arrived in Bhuj, in the earthquake-hit region of Gujarat in India. WSPA estimates that many thousands of livestock and pet animals in the region have been killed or injured, with animals still buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The WSPA team, which will be assisting the work of local volunteers and vets, is expected to be in the region for at least two weeks initially. Some of the challenges faced by the team will include the construction of emergency shelters, supply and distribution of animal feed and veterinary supplies for the vaccination and treatment of sick and injured animals, and a ‘catch and contain’ programme to control the stray animals. WSPA is appealing for help from animal groups worldwide to assist with this animal disaster relief operation.

Trevor Wheeler, WSPA’s Operations Director, said “Many of the surviving livestock have largely been left abandoned and are now slowly starving to death, their former owners having fled the area or been killed by the earthquake. This disaster has also exacerbated the existing problem of stray animals roaming unchecked.”

One of the world’s largest animal protection organisations, WSPA has consultative status at the UN and Council of Europe and a long tradition of providing emergency aid to animals affected by man-made or natural disasters. WSPA’s emergency relief teams have recently been in action in El Salvador, Mozambique and Kosovo.