Most of our global disaster team were in the Philippines last week working on the conclusion of the relief work we began last year following Typhoon Haiyan.
While we were there, Alert Level Three was raised for Mount Mayon, a volcano in the Philippines surrounded by many human and animal communities. We knew this volcano from a previous eruption in 2001 where we put into place mass evacuations for animals affected – something that had not happened previously.
Local media reports described large-scale evacuations underway for thousands of people. We were very happy to learn that animals were being evacuated as well. It’s great to know that work we did over a decade ago with these communities and governments, is still being practiced today, protecting animal lives and the lives of people who depend on them.
We know from 50 years of responding to disasters, if people include animals in their plans, fewer animals and people die. Protecting animals also helps people rebuild their lives following a disaster.
Millions of animals suffer and die each year as the forgotten victims of disasters, while many animal owners put their own lives at risk to rescue or care for their animals during emergencies. Preparing your animals for a disaster can help avoid this.
To help animal owners caught up in this eruption, we shared the following tips with media, and several newspapers and radio stations in the area have already shared these with their audiences:
Mount Mayon - advice for pet owners:
Prepare for your pets with these emergency survival items:
Food: Try to provide the same food as you would normally feed your pet so as to avoid stomach upsets. Do not put their food on volcanic ash covered surfaces – it can be toxic and should not mix with their food.
Water: Ensure that you have enough safe drinking 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 safely 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 (for example: eye wash solution separate from your family's supply)
Mount Mayon Volcano – advice for livestock owners:
If it is safe for you to do so, move your animals to a designated safe place:
• Check water to ensure it is not contaminated by ash – animals need clean water
• Check feed for signs of contamination from volcanic ash. Wash feed clean of ash before giving it to animals
• Shelter them inside buildings during heavier volcanic ash fall periods
• Prepare 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, leave them enough food and clean water for 72 hours
• They will need protection from the elements and shelter
This is a message from World Animal Protection.