As we mentioned in a previous post, Dr. Juan Carlos Murillo and Dr. Sergio Vasquez, two of our most experienced disaster management vets, have been in Brazil since Sunday the 8th of January, to conduct a thorough assessment of the impact on animals in the flood-affected regions.
One of the first results of the WSPA visit has been to secure 450 placements of a public service announcement (PSA) on over 335 radio stations – this means that thousands of residents all across Brazil were reminded to include animals in their disaster plans and given practical tips on ensuring the safety of their animals.
Our team started by visiting Belo Horizonte, where they met with Franklin Olivera, a representative of a local partner organisation "Amigos dos Bichos" to plan how best to work together to help the animals belonging to the local flood-affected communities.
They also visited the Mario Campos district to assess the impact of the floods there and the current animal situation. On their way there, they passed the previously flooded cities of Juatuba and Mario Campos, where they found that the situation had returned to normal, and people were going about their business as per usual. The Paraopeba river is returning to normal levels but in Mario Campos, effects of the recent flooding were still visible: water marks were visible on household walls as far inland from the river as 100 metres!
The animals most impacted by the flooding in this region are pets that were abandoned when their owners had to evacuate their households. Most farm animals had been moved to higher ground – as they usually are, during the rainy season, and were therefore safe from the floods.
WSPA has initiated the distribution of pet food and fodder for animals in the communities most affected, including for some families continuing to live in a shelter set up at the Municipal School Antonio Gonzalez, because their homes had been swept away in the floods.
Over the weekend, our staff are expected to return from this initial assessment trip; based on the findings they report, we will make decisions about how to continue to help these animals, and of course, continue to keep you posted!
Click here if you'd like to hear the PSA that played on radio stations across Brazil.