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WSPA Disaster Response Team in Solomon Islands

WSPA Disaster Response Team in Solomon Islands

WSPA trained Kiwi part of Disaster Response Team

February 11, 2013 – Following the 8.0 earthquake and tsunami in Solomon Islands on Wednesday, WSPA teams in the region have been on high alert and ready to help stray and injured animals and assist with the limited veterinary capacity on the islands.

As a result, WSPA has now deployed two members of its Disaster Response Team to Santa Cruz Islands in southern Solomon Islands, to determine how the disaster has affected local animal populations and what response is required.

Animals are often the forgotten victims of disasters, but they too suffer the immediate dangers and terrible aftermaths of unexpected and violent events.
Country Director for WSPA NZ, Bridget Vercoe, explains why it is also critical for animals to be considered in a disaster: “Saving animals has a crucial benefit: it protects the damaged communities that they are such a vital a part of, ensuring that people have a solid foundation from which to rebuild their health and livelihoods.

“For the Solomon Islands in particular - due to the remote nature of the affected areas - there are infrequent deliveries of goods from ships and limited flights with minimal carrying capacity. Food security and water are therefore priority concerns in the immediate aftermath of this event.

“Further, losses of animals whether from death or those gone loose from shelter/tethering damages can create increased hardship and food security concerns on animal owners. Loose animals may also graze freely in community gardens which may already be damaged from tsunami impacts, further adding pressure on available resources.”

With local veterinary capacity on the islands presently being limited and close to non-existent, in the aftermath of this disaster, the WSPA Disaster Response Team is now working closely with the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office to assist, on the ground.

The WSPA Disaster Response team is accompanied by Kiwi, Ritchie Dawson, Chief Inspector at the Wellington, New Zealand SPCA and member of the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group (NAWEM) of which WSPA is a co-chair. Ritchie Dawson has also been WSPA trained in emergency response and brings specialised expertise following his work in the aftermath of the Canterbury Earthquake.

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