Today we stopped in five villages and treated dozens of dogs, cattle water buffalo and pigs.
Mamarang Sapa village sits high in the mountains of Aklan Province. The typhoon has made access to these villages extremely difficult, and the rains yesterday nearly prevented us from reaching them at all, with a nearby river threatening to overflow and wash the roads away.
Villages like Mamarang Sapa have received next to no attention and very little outside help. The people and animals have been hanging on for weeks now and we were the first INGO on the scene to help.
I met a fifty-year old woman named Prospera Bernal who brought her 15-year-old buffalo for treatment. He was injured during the typhoon and had a gash on his back that had not healed and become infected. Dr. Juan Carlos Murillo explained that although the injury would not normally be serious, the stress of the typhoon, the lack of proper food and medicines and the hot, humid temperatures can turn relatively minor injuries into serious, and even life-threatening conditions.
Dr. Murillo immediately disinfected the wound and gave the buffalo vitamin injections to boost his immunity and allow him to recover.
We’re setting up mobile veterinary clinics through Aklan Province this week and sending advance word to the farmers and pet owners that help is on the way. At each stop that we make, children arrive with their puppies and farmers with their livestock. The anxiousness on their faces and relief once their animals receive our care show how deeply they care for their animals.
In communities across the region, farming and agriculture is all that the people have. Without help, many of their animals will succumb to infected injuries, malnutrition and parasites.
We are here to make sure that does not happen. In villages with no other way to make a living, no other way of life, keeping the animals safe, productive and minimizing their suffering is exactly what they need to recover.
I can’t overstate this enough. These villages have nothing without their animals. No industries, no electricity, no means to buy or make food or pay for their children’s education. The only thing they have that brings them income is growing crops and raising animals.
You who support us in doing this work are truly the heroes of this story. You are keeping communities healthy and intact and allowing animals and people to recover their lives in the wake of the worst disaster any of them have ever experienced.