May 4, 2015

NEPAL: Vets Are Working To Save The Animals Caught Up In Nepal 7.8 Magnitude Earthauake

First response: Many times the HSI team is the first aid to reach the remote villages

The Daily Mail, UK
written by Flora Drury
Saturday May 2, 2015

Purnima Tamang lost everything in the Nepalese earthquake which destroyed most of her village.

Everything, that is, apart from her flock of eight goats.

Mrs Tamang, alone and without family, is now sheltering with her animals in what remains of her house.

'Call them what you want – my property, my family, my friends, they are all I have left,' she said.

But her goats are suffering from exposure, having been soaked by rain for five days - and that is where the Humane Society International's animal rescue team comes in.

The HSI's vets have arrived in the disaster-hit country, travelling out into the remote villages outside of Kathmandu.

Thousands of animals - many of which are vital to the livelihood of the families who own them - have been affected by the earthquake.

Many have sustained injuries from being trapped in collapsed buildings or hit by falling debris, while a huge number have been crushed to death or buried alive.

Working with a number of other animal welfare charities, HSI's team is providing life-saving medicines, vaccinations, surgical equipment and other supplies for the four-legged victims of the quake, as well as looking into providing shelter and food for sick, injured, lost and abandoned animals.

But they are also helping the villagers they come across.

In Sengden Village, vets have treated Mrs Tamang's goats for respiratory problems, and are now planning to return with medicine and food to help her.

Rahul Sehgal, director of HSI Asia, said: 'There is complete devastation in many areas for people and animals alike, and we're helping both.

'For many people, their animals are all they have left, so HSI's animal aid is a vital lifeline.

'The team has visited several affected areas where the surviving animals are living in stressful conditions, often exposed to the elements and in need of basic veterinary care and medicines.

'We are attempting to locate a facility to serve as a temporary shelter for animals who have been left behind as well as for animals in critical need as assessed by the team.

'We also helped a man who was single-handedly trying to clear out the rubble of his home so that he could retrieve whatever worldly possessions he had left.

'Compassion doesn't care if you have two legs or four.'

In every village HSI has visited so far, animals are getting sick from exposure in the heavy rain; many are too sick to eat, and most of the animal feed is buried in the rubble anyway.

Complicating matters is that many of these villages are not easily reached as they are remote and reached only by mountainous dirt roads.

It is a desperate situation, and HSI veterinarians have been the first responders on the ground to provide aid in many of these villages.

Mr Seghal said: 'We were able to provide treatment for some physical injuries such as cuts and lacerations, but we realise that the disaster for the surviving animals has just begun.

'In the absence of basic needs most of the goats are already showing signs of respiratory stress and almost all animals have diarrhoea.

'These signs indicate the urgent need to provide veterinary care to prevent onset of life threatening diseases.

'These animals have already survived a large scale disaster and it would be heart-breaking to see them succumb to something as easily preventable as respiratory diseases.

'The humanitarian teams are vaccinating people and we're working alongside them vaccinating animals.

'Everyone needs help here.'

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