Following the tragic earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand on 22 February, which has taken at least 75 human lives, WSPA and its local member societies are attempting to assess the situation for animal need.
The main focus is still on search and rescue in the city’s highrise buildings which were the most seriously affected. WSPA’s Asia Pacific team has been in contact with colleagues in the Canterbury SPCA and NAWEM (National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Group) to check if shelters have been affected. We have offered support, though it appears to be still too early to see if it will be needed.
We received the following response from the Canterbury SPCA’s Centre Manager Geoff Sutton on 23 February, “Although it is too soon to have or provide any detail, at the moment we are coping and setting up strategies for what is to come. Communication failures this time have made that task more difficult and we are not yet in a position to make definitive plans. Most staff have been able to turn up and everything that needs to be done right now is being done.”
“We deeply and sincerely appreciate the calls of concern and offers of assistance and with each hour we will be better placed to assess our needs. In the meantime, we need time to catch up on what our needs are.”
Meanwhile, there has also been a larger eruption on Mount Bulusan in the Philippines with thousands being evacuated. Our local disaster liason officer is monitoring the situation closely on the ground for any animal need.