Helping injured and homeless animals in earthquake-striken in Turkey

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Turkey rescue
Humane Society International team joins the search for a pet cat in Hatay's Antakya district on February 18, 2023. Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI

A disaster relief team from animal charity Humane Society International (HSI) has deployed to Turkey to provide emergency relief to thousands of dogs, cats and other animals caught up in the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

With the immediate humanitarian search for human life drawing to a close, HSI’s team of experienced disaster responders are coming from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and India from today and over the next weeks, to assist local groups in the first aid effort for injured animals. We will also help set up additional field veterinary hospitals in Antakya and beyond to expand capacity in the area, and distribute much needed food, water and veterinary supplies.

Humane Society International team members give food to the cats left on the street after the earthquake in Hatay’s Antakya district, on February 19, 2023. Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI

HSI has additionally provided an emergency grant of financial aid to local rescue group Yuk Hayvanlarani Koruma Ve Kurtama Dernegi (Working Animals Rescue Foundation), enabling it to dispatch veterinarians and response vehicles to get veterinary and relief supplies to the animals and their people most in need.

Kelly Donithan, HSI’s director of animal disaster response, is leading HSI’s deployment. A seasoned disaster responder who has helped rescue and bring aid to animals impacted by disasters in Australia, Africa, Beirut, and countries neighbouring Ukraine, Donithan has been in constant contact with local groups who estimate that hundreds of animals have likely lost their lives in addition to the tens of thousands of people who were tragically killed by the earthquake. Thousands of dogs and cats as well as equines and farm animals remain in desperate need of aid.

Humane Society International team takes care of the puppies of a dog that came out of the wreckage at the Haytap Clinic, in Hatay’s Antakya district, on February 19, 2023. Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI

Donithan says, “The earthquake has brought devastation and tragic loss of life to both people and animals, and Humane Society International’s disaster animal response team is rushing to help local groups. Some animals are still being pulled alive from the rubble but we don’t know for how much longer, and thousands of rescued dogs and cats are in urgent need of veterinary care as they cope with injuries, shock, dehydration and malnutrition.

“Several animal shelters in the impact zone have been destroyed, so HSI will also be helping with the safe relocation of their animals, as well as distributing vital food, water and medical supplies where they are needed most. It’s heart breaking to see people and animals suffering the physical and psychological impacts of a disaster of this magnitude, so HSI is keen to help in any way we can.”

Humane Society International team takes care of a dog that came out of the wreckage at the Haytap Clinic, in Hatay’s Antakya district, on February 19, 2023. Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI

HSI responds to disasters around the world to assist animals and communities in need, and in the past has stepped in to provide emergency treatment to animals affected by volcanic eruptions in Guatemala; deadly earthquakes in Nepal, Ecuador and Mexico; hurricanes, flash floods and cyclones in India, Haiti and Mozambique; and wildfires in Australia and Chile; as well as helping refugees and their pets fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Donate to HSI’s Animal Rescue Fund here to provide grants, vital supplies and fund our teams in emergency situations such as this.

This is a guest post by HSI. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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