Formed by one of the most active plate boundaries, the low-lying Pacific Islands rank among the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters. Struck by tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - since 1950 - more than 3.4 million people have been affected, over 1,700 have been killed and millions of animals have needed protection.
In 2014 alone, we have responded to Vanuatu in the wake of Tropical Storm Lusi and to the Solomon Islands after intense flooding. Throughout our work in the South Pacific, we have found that Pacific islanders take good care of their animals, however they have limited knowledge of animal welfare and how to care for their animals in disasters.
Improving animal welfare from the heart of communities
Now we have the opportunity to improve the long term protection of millions of animals across the South Pacific by reaching out to millions of people. We are developing an educational film, tailored to the island nations, that will train people and their communities in disaster prevention. Burned onto DVDs, the film will be distributed to thousands of people across the Pacific Islands, taking our message directly into the heart of the communities.
Working with groups like the Vanuatu Ministry of Agriculture, Vanuatu Food Security/Agriculture Cluster and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community enables us to directly benefit over 52,000 animals in the Solomon Islands and 116,000 animals in Vanuatu by improving their owner’s ability to care for them in disasters.
The strong alliance between the Pacific Island countries will mean that we are able expand this project further. With our support the DVD will be distributed far beyond Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Over the next few years, the 10 million people living in Oceania will develop a better understanding of how to prepare for their animals in disasters and millions of animals will be better protected.