Just after 6 p.m. yesterday, I arrived here in Haiti from across the border -- despite a flat tire, overheated engine, and two aftershocks -- and am seeing firsthand the total devastation left behind in the wake of last week’s earthquake.
Tent cities everywhere are teeming with tens of thousands of people now homeless. Mountains of rubble are all that remain of homes and buildings. And people are terrified of being crushed during the tremors that still rock the country.
And amid all this human suffering, there’s something else: Animals are suffering, too.
The entire nation is overwhelmed by a lack of basic necessities -- adequate food, water, shelter, and medicine. Thankfully, it appears humanitarian aid is reaching the people affected by this disaster.
But the conditions for animals are still deteriorating. In our short time here, I’ve seen cattle wandering through fields and stray dogs by the roads. With food and water in short supply, it is only a matter of time before these animals -- especially the injured -- come under threat of dehydration, starvation, and disease.
Our team of responders from The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International and Veterinary Care & Humane Services, Caribbean Project is now in Port-au-Prince, providing emergency care and treatment to the animal survivors and assessing conditions to help stabilize the situation for them.
We are working around the clock to mobilize more teams of responders, to obtain and ship food and supplies, and to coordinate with authorities and other organizations in Haiti. We are doing everything we can to provide immediate support to the animals who survived this disaster, as well as develop ongoing institutional support for Haiti’s animals and their human care-givers in the future.
Dr. Rebecca Berg, DVM
HSUS/HSI/HSVMA Volunteer Disaster Responder