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Team members from Humane Society International (HSI) Australia‘s disaster response team have deployed to Antakya, Türkiye, to assist HSI’s global team from the United States, Europe, Guatemala and El Salvador with continued animal rescue efforts in the aftermath of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake last month. Images and video available here.
More than a month after the deadly earthquake, HSI is still finding dogs and cats alive in abandoned apartments, damaged buildings or wandering the streets.
The animal charity estimates that more than 1,500 animals have been brought to receive medical care at the veterinary field clinics set up by local veterinarians and groups in the city of Antakya, where HSI’s team is working. HSI estimates that tens of thousands of animals across the country will have perished.
Most of the rescued animals who have been found by the HSI team over the past several weeks, have suffered cuts, bruises, infected wounds, infected eyes, dehydration, starvation and shock. Unbelievably, despite most of these animals seeming to have had little to no access to food or water, they survived against the odds. Now in the third week of HSI’s deployment, the majority of animals they are rescuing are dogs and cats who became separated from their families after the earthquake and have been surviving amongst the rubble and collapsed buildings, or strays suffering malnutrition or infections.
HSI Australia’s Evan Quartermain and Georgie Dolphin, who were also deployed to Kangaroo Island to rescue wildlife during the 2020 Black Summer Bushfires, say that the destruction is beyond comprehension.
Evan Quartermain, Head of Disaster Response for HSI Australia said: “Everywhere we go people are approaching us asking for help to find their pets—many have been going back to their destroyed homes daily to look for them on their own.”
The animal rescue team has been using voice recordings of owners calling to their pets, in order to try to coax animals out of abandoned buildings. They are also using drones to access high rise buildings that are otherwise inaccessible and too dangerous to enter to try to locate more animals.
“The work being done on the ground here is nothing short of inspiring. I’ve met people who have lost friends and family to this horrific tragedy, but have remained behind to help with the animal rescue effort. Their hard work and dedication is truly amazing,” concluded Mr Quartermain.