Early reports of the damage Super Typhoon Haiyan has caused in the Philippines - first responders are comparing it to the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami - are horrifying. Weather events of this magnitude devastate communities and we are working on an hourly basis with our local contacts to determine what the needs are for animals and their owners.
We are on standby to deploy but in the meantime, I want to update you on some ongoing work in the region.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that our team was in the Attepu Province of Lao PDR working with the government and farmers affected by severe floods.
WSPA's help is both immediate and long term. Initially, we're giving medicine to village vets to treat up to 3000 animals. This could further benefit 40,000 cattle and buffalo in the area by preventing possible outbreaks.
Longer term, we want to improve community resilience by providing farmers with basic animal welfare information and disaster preparedness / readiness knowledge through a public education campaign in cooperation with the Lao PDR government.
Neighbouring Vietnam has been hit by two severe typhoons in recent weeks and our response team just returned from an initial assessment in the central part of the country. Damage from high winds and in particular floods is severe in some of the hardest hit villages with roads washed out, bridges blocked and people and animal shelters damaged.
Most people living here rely heavily on livestock, (mainly chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, buffalo and cattle) for their livelihoods, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable . Income from livestock can represent from 60-95% of annual income and so safeguarding their animals is extremely important for their long term survival.
With Super Typhoon Haiyan now on a direct course for Vietnam, our response team is on high alert and ready to deploy across the region to give help where it is needed the most.