By Jen Thomas
While the death toll following the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (‘Yolanda’ by the locals) is speculated at up to 10,000, the number of animals affected is still unknown. Those who survived the ravaging Haiyan, both livestock and companion animals, are left bereft of food, shelter, clean drinking water, and most have been separated from their loved ones in the chaos that ensued. Some no longer have owners to come find them in their time of need. All over the world donations and care packages are being accepted to help get relief to the victims of the tropical calamity.
HSI, PAWS and IFAW are working hard, and in collaboration with other local, and international groups to identify and assess those in need. Aide is being offered readily, donations have been flowing in steadily from all over the world. These groups largely already have a presence in the region, and are in touch with the community and understand its people, which is an important part of delivering effective aid. However the real challenge is reaching all of those who have been touched by the indiscriminate force of the off the scales cyclone.
While everyone is in need, the hardest hit areas in the region are desperately low on essentials, and the super storm has made it incredibly difficult to get these much needed supplies to those who are sustaining themselves on next to nothing. This is forcing the hand of people and animals alike to drinking contaminated water out of sheer desperation. It has been almost a week since the Islands were devastated and the chances for survival drop dramatically with each passing hour as illness and infections settle in or go untreated.
A failing infrastructure torn apart by Haiyan is the largest contributor to the difficulty in reaching those who are still in need. Even communicating to try to orchestrate effective plans of action has become another hurdle to overcome. As roadways became inaccessible and destroyed, buildings leveled, and power lines decimated, little is left as an asset to the groups landing in the Philippines with the intention on delivering some relief
Many have been advised to flee, but this is made next to impossible as most vehicles have been rendered useless, and if you are in possession of a working mode of transportation, you are lucky to find any gas station that isn’t closed, for fearing looting. Meanwhile officials may not realize how difficult it is to ask someone to leave while there are still so many unanswered questions, and family members or pets left unaccounted for. As any pet-owner can tell you, many simply will not abandon their homes without knowing the fate of their family, beloved animals included. If there were any possibility they may have survived, they would want to be there for them when they are found.
Our continued support and donations remain crucial to the survival of those animals, and people touched by the typhoon. The Better Business Bureau offers a list of Wise Giving Alliance Accredited Charities.
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