We’ve nearly finished our rapid assessment of Cebu and Bantayan Islands and have linked up with municipal governments and veterinarians at each stop to make sure our work supports the larger humanitarian effort all around us.
We’ve been very encouraged by the reception we received from Neil Sanchez, the coordinator of relief efforts for Cebu Province. One mayor, in San Remigio the honourable Mariano Martinez, told us that animals were not part of the needs they’d identified, but after speaking with us, he recognized how the well-being of animals is tied to the wellbeing of the people, both in this immediate emergency phase and in the longer term recovery.
In some of the worst hit areas of Cebu: Bantayan, Santa Fe, Madridejos, Daanbantayan, Bogo, Medellin and San Remigio people lack food, shelter and the capacity to help themselves, as the disaster took everything they had.
The devastation is near total in some areas, with collapsed buildings, broken power lines and tress blocking roads, and children lining the highways with handwritten signs pleading for food or any kind of help. It is heartbreaking to see.
Sadly, we’ve also seen many animals wandering, foraging for whatever food they can find and they are looking sick and malnourished.
Many local vets have joined in the humanitarian effort to help the people and we’re here to complement those efforts to help the animals and, by extension, the people who will later need them for livelihoods, companionship and food security. We’ve seen veterinary and agricultural centres heavily damaged, and vast swathes of the island without power. Crucial vaccines to prevent disease are ruined without refrigeration and restoring the electricity could take up to three months, according to Mr. Sanchez.
Over the coming days we will be assisting these communities in peril. I’ll share more of those and stories from survivors we hear along the way.