Another major typhoon is due to make landfall in the Philippines over the weekend. Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, is set to cross a similar path to the devastating Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which leveled many communities in the Visayas Region last year, killing over 6,300 people and millions of animals.
Hagupit's projected path. Graphic courtesy Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC)
A cat that survived Haiyan, Central Visayas, Philippines. November 2013. During and following disasters animals need the same things as people: shelter, clean water and food. ©World Animal Protection/Chester Baldicantos 2013
Today we have been sharing disaster preparedness advice with media and government authorities in the Philippines to help people in the Visayas and Bicol regions protect their livestock and pets during the high winds and storm surges that accompany typhoons.
Evidence shows us people who are well prepared to protect and evacuate their animals, are also much more likely to survive and rebuild quickly after disasters.
As the typhoon builds in strength off the coast of the island nation, our disaster response team is in touch with government and veterinary colleagues there, ready to deploy and assist if needed. We've also been advising our contacts on coordinating potential evacuation sites to accomodate animals.
For the moment, here are the tips we are sharing via Filipino media:
Protecting Animals During a Disaster: Advice for animal owners
1. Typhoon Ruby – advice for livestock owners
If it is safe for you to do so, move your animals to higher ground or a designated safe place:
• Bring a 72 hour supply of suitable food and water
• Travel with an emergency kit for your animals (this may include animal identification and records/documents/important contact numbers/first aid).
If you have no choice but to leave your livestock behind:
• Before evacuating, and if it is safe for you to do so, move your animals to a designated safe place
• Leave them enough food and clean water for 72 hours. They will need protection from the elements and shelter
• Untie them so they have a chance to escape should floodwaters rise. Tethered or penned animals have no chance in a flood or storm surge. Animals are strong swimmers and untying them gives them a chance to survive
• When returning after flood waters have receded, have plenty of fresh water available
• On your return, check and secure fencing as these may have shifted in the floods.
2. Typhoon Ruby – advice for pet owners
Prepare for your pet – Checklist: Emergency Survival Items
Food: Store at least three days of non-perishable pet food (canned or dried) in an airtight, waterproof container (remember the can opener!). Ideally this should be the same food as your normally feed your pet so as to avoid stomach upsets.
Water: Store at least three days of water for your pet, in addition to the water you need for your family (remember an animal can drink more water than usual when under stress). Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your pet.
Medicines: Store any extra supply of medicines your pet needs in a waterproof container, as well as any special dietary needs or supplements.
Veterinary/Medical Records: Store copies of any medical and vaccination records in a watertight container or zip lock bag including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to shelter your pet or place them in foster care).
First Aid Kit: Prepare a first aid kit. Talk to your vet about any specific requirements such as tick/flea prevention, antibiotic ointment and saline solution (i.e. eye wash solution separate from your family use)
This is a message from World Animal Protection.
We're hoping for the best for the animals and people in the Philippines. But, I want to tell you we're taking action for them now as we've been doing for over 50 years globally.
Relief as survivors of Typhoon Haiyan reunite. Animals are very important to Filipinos as part of the family, or vital components of their livelihoods. ©World Animal Protection/Chester Baldicantos 2013
Since Haiyan, we've been working non-stop, treating and vaccinating thousands of animals in the immediate aftermath. In April, we piloted a typhoon resistant farm project to help better protect animals from future disasters. In September we also conducted community evacuation drills in Central Visayas implementing a new SMS early warning system while training and equipping local vets with bikes, mobile phones and emergency packs so they can immediately help animals following disasters.
To date we have helped over 70,000 animals there and with your continued support we can help animals caught up in disasters worldwide.
Pet owners don't want to abandon their animals as disasters approach. We work with governments worldwide to ensure animals are part of disaster and evacuation plans. ©World Animal Protection/Chester Baldicantos 2013