Every public space – parks, the gold course, even the parking lot at my hotel is full with makeshift temporary shelters. The bright orange and blue tarps provided by aid agencies are their only respite from relentless and brutal sun. People have lost their homes or are too afraid to go back inside those that remain standing. Every day we feel multiple aftershocks and ever rising death tolls are reported in the media.
This is a city gripped by fear and mourning.
Like people, animals in Nepal are suffering, hungry and without homes. I’ve seen street dogs huddled together in the ruins of ancient temples and toppled apartment blocks, taking shade where they can find it.
Street dogs take shade in the ruins of a temple. Kathmandu, 30 April, 2015. World Animal Protection / Florian Witulski
Street dogs who in normal times, rely on handouts from communities and have no single owner are suffering greatly after the earthquake. The people who normally care for them no longer have homes and many have no way to feed themselves.
I saw a woman sleeping in what was left of a temple. She had her arms wrapped around a dog, also asleep. Their love for one another and the bond all of us who have pets can relate to was obvious. It struck me that for people around the world, sometimes our greatest comfort is our animals.
Lalitpur, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. May 1, 2015. © World Animal Protection
Our disaster response team and Nepali veterinarians who are volunteering their time, is here to help the animals. Over the next few days we will be treating animals in the worst affected areas and getting a picture of their needs and how to help them. So far, we expect these to be emergency veterinary care for wounds and illnesses, food and shelter. I will keep you updated on how the animals are doing and how we are helping them.