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Tsunami Relief Efforts      
Disaster Relief

HSI helps Tsunami Relief Efforts in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka

TsunamiHSI would like to offer its sincere condolences to the people in the regions of South East Asia affected by the recent and terrible events triggered by the Indian Ocean earthquake. HSI is determined to do all that it can to help relieve the suffering that has been caused by this immense natural disaster.

1st January 2005
HSI has sent two teams into Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to assess the needs of animals in the areas devastated by the tsunami. Each team has at least one veterinarian and is bringing money and medical supplies.

Throughout the affected region, communities depend on working farm animals for their livelihoods and survival. In most cases, these animals are the crucial lifeblood of the community. By lending HSI expertise in these areas, we hope to help the animals, and therefore the people, start to put their lives back on track.

The teams are focusing their attention on the needs of companion animals, working farm animals, and wildlife, and will travel with veterinary supplies. They will work with local groups and local government officials to identify needs and provide aid where needed. In addition to helping with immediate care, the teams will also be assessing the longer term needs and logistics. Already HSI has donated $10,000 to the Soi Dog Project in Phuket, Thailand who is taking the lead in caring for dogs injured and abandoned by the tsunami.

One team spent their first week helping provide care to wildlife and domestic animals in Phuket, including the successful rescue of an endangered dolphin stranded a kilometre inland. That team is now helping with relief efforts in Colombo, Sri Lanka. HSI has also sent a team with an experienced vet to Medan and Aceh in Sumatra.

Early reports indicate that some wildlife might have been spared from the tsunami with help from a "sixth-sense", however HSI and HSUS animal experts believe that the true fate of many animals, including companion animals and livestock, remains unknown. On ground, reports from the rescue team suggest many animals are injured, homeless and hungry.

Communications with the rescue teams are difficult. However HSI will update this webpage with their activities as best we can.

Progress Updates

Tsunami Update

16 March 2005
One of the deadliest natural disasters in human history has killed around 150,000 people and wiped out entire communities. The underwater earthquake and resulting tsunami affected the animal kingdom too, but disaster experts are just beginning to learn how much. Reports from our HSI Asia team and first hand accounts from our disaster relief operatives include stories of widespread animal deaths mixed with stories of incredible escapes and courage.
Much of our work has centred on domestic pets and the vaccination, feeding and supply of fresh water has been a big part of our effort. As there are an estimated 100,000 dogs stranded in Sri Lanka alone, we are in a race against time.

Our wildlife vets have also faced an enormous challenge. There have been dolphins found in inland lagoons that needed to be moved back to the sea, an island with 50 stranded deer desperate for emergency supplies of food and water, several injured and starving animals that needed relocating from a private zoo discovered under a pile of wrecked fishing boats in Aceh ' “ story after story of animals in need.

TsunamiHSI has continued to provide resources and specialist support to a number of countries affected by the disaster. Below are some examples of our efforts:
  • HSI activated its first response to an international disaster following the Southeast Asia Tsunami tragedy. An assessment team was dispatched to Thailand, Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh. As of the end of December, their work had only begun.
  • Two expert and experienced disaster hardened teams of veterinarians were despatched from Washington early in the New Year. HSUS/HSI RAVS (Remote Area Veterinary Services) and DART (Disaster Animal Relief Team) program members were flown to Sri Lanka and Thailand to continue a wide range of animal relief efforts.
  • Dispatching a small team of livestock veterinarians to Sumatra, where it is believed that agricultural animals took a large hit from the tsunami, to provide food and water and treatment to surviving cows, goats, chickens and other animals.
  • Providing financial resources to the Soi Dog Project in Phuket, Thailand to provide food and water or immediate veterinary treatment to homeless dogs, and a "field clinic" in Khao Lak, which will provide treatment, care, and food for both livestock and domestic animals in the area.
  • In Sri Lanka, HSI provided financial resources to the NGO KACPAW for relief for stricken animals and rabies vaccines for dogs in the refugee camps.
  • In Phuket, HSI helped coordinate the rescue of a critically endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin that was stranded by the tsunami in a lagoon a kilometre inland.
  • A HSI-sponsored wildlife expert made regular trips to deliver barrels of fresh water to a small island off Thailand that was devastated by the tsunami, leaving few inhabitants but at least 50 deer.
  • In India, HSI made a financial contribution to the Blue Cross of India in Madras, for immediate relief, particularly clean water, for dogs and livestock affected by the Tsunami.
  • HSI made a significant financial contribution to the disaster relief team efforts of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
  • HSI has provided resources to the grass roots NGO Profauna Indonesia, for their animal relief work in Banda Aceh, which includes feeding the wild animals in the abandoned zoo. HSI has also contributed to the costs of a vehicle (with Bali Street Dog Australia/Animal People) for the combined team of ProFauna and Bali Street Dogs to more freely move around in Banda Aceh on animal relief work.
  • In Sri Lanka, HSI responded to the Tsunami disaster in a number of ways, including the allocation of urgently needed resources to the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP).
  • HSI has supported efforts in Northern Sumatra (Aceh) Indonesia, through a post Tsunami program established by Fauna and Flora International (FFI). HSI has helped with their emergency response needs for field operations in the Aceh province, which is integrated into FFI' s Asia Elephant protection program for which we have previously provided funds.

Aid for Animals in Tsunami Devastation

20 January 2005

TsunamiSince January 1st, Humane Society International has had two disaster relief teams in Phuket, Sri Lanka, India and Banda Aceh to assess the needs of animals in the tsunami devastated areas. The teams, each equipped with veterinary supplies, have been providing immediate relief to companion animals, working farm animals (on which local people depend) and wildlife, and assessing the need for further assistance over the longer term.
As of January 14, Humane Society International distributed approximately AUS$100,000 to the affected areas in Asia, including support for the following on-ground relief efforts:
  • The Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand.
  • The NGO KACPAW in Sri Lanka for rabies vaccinations.
  • The Blue Cross of India for immediate relief of pets and livestock.
  • Cash to HSI staff in Banda Aceh for direct relief efforts
  • Resources to the World Society for the Protection of Animals

In Sri Lanka, HSI is working with Pet V Care and has managed to vaccinate almost 3000 stray dogs against rabies. The goal is to vaccinate about 10,000 dogs in the next few weeks to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the refugee camps, where people are sharing their makeshift living spaces with surviving pet animals. Food has been given to over 80 dogs found abandoned and starving ' “ an important part of this program is to calm the dogs, as they were turning savage through hunger and were becoming a threat to local people. Pet V Care has fourteen veterinarians working around the clock and the Sri Lankan military has helped round the animals up for their vaccinations. A major operation is being mounted in Arungam Bay where authorities have threatened to kill dogs left stray by the tsunami.

Work has also included the dispatch of two new teams of people, sent from our Washington office to Sri Lanka and Thailand, consisting of experienced veterinarians from our RAVS (Rural Areas Veterinary Services) and DART (Disaster Animal Relief Team) programs.
We will also be contributing financial resources to immediate wildlife rescue efforts and longer-term conservation rehabilitation programs. For example, resources have been sent to the Turtle Conservation Project in Sri Lanka to help them rebuild their facility. We are also looking at what funds we can provide to help re-establish other wildlife rehabilitation programs that are casualties of the disaster in Northern Sumatra.
' The reports of people and animals suffering in the wake of the tsunami are very distressing' , said HSI' s Director Michael Kennedy. ' We are very grateful to HSI' s supporters in Australia for donating funds so that we have been able to help the overall relief effort' .

HSI Donates $5,000 for Sri Lanka Animal Relief

Washington D.C.
7 January 2005
Neil Trent, Executive Director of the Humane Society International (HSI) announced the immediate donation of $5,000 for the relief of stricken animals and vaccinating for rabies in the refugee camps in Sri Lanka. The funds will be used for the care and feeding the many abandoned and distressed animals left homeless in the wake of the tsunami. The funds are being distributed locally by Robert Blumberg, Blumberg, who now resides in Sri Lanka, was formerly with the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends where he worked closely with HSI. Some of the funds will go to Pet V Care, one of the most active groups working on the relief efforts.

Sri Lanka Relief Effort Underway

Colombo, Sri Lanka
6 January 2005
HSI Asia's director Sherry Grant and Dr. Putu Listriani, Chief of Veterinarian Medicine for the Bali Street Dog Foundation have met with representatives of Sri Lanka animal welfare groups involved in the animal relief efforts.

Attending the meeting were Dr. Gamika of PetVCare, Dr. Harischandra, head of the goverment Veterinarian Department, Robert Blumberg, formerly with the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends, Champa Fernando of the Kandy Association for Community Protection through Animal Welfare (KACPAW), and concerned citizens Michel and Anusha David.

PetVCare has fielded 14 veterinarians and four mobile units to deal with the crisis. They have been giving emergency treatments, feeding the injured and stray animals, and giving vaccinations to keep down the spread of disease.

After the meeting in Colombo, Grant, Listriani and other members of the group took an overnight trip by Land Rover to the southern and eastern parts of the island, which were the most badly damaged. There they will plan for whatever additional efforts will be needed to deal with the crisis.
Outside money and assistance has come not only from HSI but also Ahimsa Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society and Animal People.
Representatives from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) are enroute and will also be helping with the effort.

What Happened to the Other Dolphin?

Many people around the world have been following the story of the two dolphins in Phuket that had been trapped in a newly created lagoon after a big wave carried them one kilometre inland.

The first dolphin was eventually rescued and returned to the sea, but rescuers could not find the second one, reported to be an adolescent. There was concerned that it might have died and gotten caught up in the considerable debris on the bottom of the lagoon.
Edwin Wiek of the SOS Wildlife Rescue Centre, who was onsite during most of the rescue, has reviewed photos of the dolphins, comparing their dorsal fins and other markings, and concluded that that there was only one dolphin. HSI donated funds to SOS Wildlife Rescue Centre to purchase a boat used in the rescue.

HSI donates $10,000 for Phuket animal relief

Washington D.C.
5 January 2005
Neil Trent, Executive Director of the Humane Society International (HSI) announced the immediate transfer of $10,000 to the SOI Dog Project in Phuket, Thailand. SOI has taken the lead on care and feeding of dogs abandoned and/or injured during the tsunami. The funds will be used for both immediate emergency relief and for the establishment of a veterinarian clinic in Kao Lak, an area that was very hard. SOI, which is headed by Margot Park, is being helped in its efforts by SOS Wildlife Rescue, headed by Edwin Weik, and Animals Asia.

Park and Sherry Grant, director of HSI Asia met in Phuket to discuss the situation and lay out plans for the relief effort. HSI is also providing other logistics support.

Endangered Dolphin Freed

Phuket, Thailand
7 January 2005
After a two day effort an adult Irrawaddy dolphin was successfully freed yesterday from the lagoon where it had been stranded a kilometre inland in Phuket, Thailand. Concerns are still held for the baby dolphin that remains in the lagoon. That the Thai people rallied to save the endangered dolphins when they are in the midst of so much suffering was truly inspiring.

HSI Assists Endangered Dolphin Rescue in Phuket

Phuket, Thailand
Monday, 3 January 2005
Efforts are underway to rescue two dolphins that were carried over the tree tops by the tsunami wave and then dumped into a lagoon. The dolphins were discovered when rescuers were retrieving three human bodies from the lagoon.

The dolphins, an adult and adolescent, apparently rode the tsunami into the previously dry lagoon. It now has seven meters of water in it. The lagoon is in Khao lak, which is one of the heaviest hit areas in Thailand. It lies on the mainland, just north of Phuket island.

The rescue efforts are being assisted by Sherry Grant, HSI's regional Director of HSI Asia. The plan is to carefully net the dolphins then lift them out of the lagoon on to stretchers and then put them in padded trucks to be transported to the ocean.

The dolphins were found on Sunday, but earlier attempts to rescue them failed. Grant learned of their plight from Edwin Wiek of the SOS Wildlife Rescue Center. Wiek had been working on the rescue effort since they were first found. Grant then consulted with Jim Steyer, who heads the Myanmar Dolphin Project in Thailand. Jim has advised that these are Indian Humpback Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) and they must be handled very carefully as they can easily stress and become agitated.

The dolphin rescue work is being assisted by a rescue team from Athens Greece that is doing the in-water work.

Grant is in Phuket as part of an advance team sent there to assist with animal rescues and give what aid they can while at the same time accessing future needs. HSI is also sending advance teams to Aceh and Sri Lanka.

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