The centre, situated in the worst-hit town of Teresópolis, opened on 27th January to respond to the essential emergency needs of dogs and cats, the animals most affected by the recent flooding. The centre is now holding 12 tons of dog food and one ton of cat food, as well as veterinary and other essential supplies, to be distributed according to the needs identifed by WSPA in its assesment following the disaster.
The centre’s response team is being co-ordinated by Dr. Sérgio Vasquez, a specialist in disaster management from WSPA’s Central America, Mexico and Caribbean office. The team comprises members of WSPA Brazil and the director of a Brazilian member society, Ecosul, which co-ordinated relief in the state of Santa Catarina in 2009, as well as a profesor from UNIFESO.
Vounteer teams made up of local vets and veterinary students from UNIFESO will leave from the centre on a daily basis to distribute provisions in areas identified as priority in the assessment. On 28th January, the team went to the district of Santa Rita in Teresópolis.
WSPA’s emergency response plan is focussed on the provision of food and medical treatment to animals which remain unclaimed or lost, and the distribution of food aid. We will also be informing the local population about the risk of possible diseases passed from animals, which generally appear two to three weeks after a disaster. Any animal which requires specialist attention will be taken to the emergency clinic at UNIFESO’s veterinary hospital.
WSPA’s global experience in managing disaster relief work demonstrates that, besides ensuring the immediate survival of animals, in this case, largely conducted by member societies located closest to the disaster zone, and local inhabitants and volunteers, it is essential to enact plans for the animals’ medium and long-term welfare.