Although the full effects of Cyclone Phailin are not yet known, we are cautiously relieved the human toll was apparently low. It's a testament to the local people and government that mass evacuations preceded Phailin's arrival.
Our response team is now on the ground and focused very much on how animals fared during Phailn's impact. We stand ready to give veterinary care or emergency provisions and as more details come in, I'll update you here.
Our thoughts now turn to Typhoon Nari currently sweeping though Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand. Each of these were hit recently by floods caused by two other typhoons in the past few weeks. After leaving a path of destruction in the Philippines, Nari has steadily made its way west to Vietnam. I am in Vietnam now in Hanoi, out of the typhoon's path, but will keep you posted as I learn the effects it has had on central Vietnam and the neighboring South East Asian countries.
Literally hours before setting off to assist the response to Phailin, Disaster Response Team Leader Steven Clegg arrived back from Laos PDR where he led an assessment to begin WSPA's assistance to human and animal communities affected by floods that have inundated 80% of the country.
Lao PDR has been hit by weeks of flooding following heavy rains carried by two tropical storms in September and early October.
Just last week, the WSPA Asia Pacific Disaster Response team spent a week in Attepu Province, one of the worst hit and most vulnerable areas in Lao. This mountainous region cradles the mighty Mekong River where people's livelihoods are completely dependent on agriculture, fully half of which comes from the care of livestock.
While the floods have now receded, the annual rice crops have been almost completely destroyed. This fragile area can only produce one harvest per year at the best of times. With this now gone, the protection of the animals is absolutely critical to safeguard the livelihoods and food security of the affected communities.
Our response team is working with the Lao PDR Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture to ensure these animals and the people receive the help they need.
Check back here or on WSPA's Twitter feed for more to come from the ground as it happens.