Animal relief operations start following monster typhoon in the Philippines

CEBU, Philippines, Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, an International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) animal rescue team reached Tacloban, a community in the island of Leyte that bared the brunt of record-shattering Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) last Friday.

IFAW is working with local partner agency, the Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to conduct an animal needs assessment following the disaster and deliver humanitarian and animal relief packets.

One of the most powerful storms ever recorded, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the island of Leyte on November 8 with punishing winds in excess of 200 kilometers (124 miles) per hour and a six-meter (20ft) storm surge. Senior officials fear that more than 10,000 people have perished which would make this the deadliest natural catastrophe in recorded history for the Philippines.

"The Philippines is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Many of the grief-stricken communities live with farm and companion animals and have no way to provide for them now," said Shannon Walajtys, IFAW Manager for Disasters. "IFAW is here working with our trusted partner PAWS to offer relief to humans and their animals in this their greatest time of need."

"We're fortunate to have IFAW as our partner in emergency response as it is a partnership that allows us to immediately mobilize a team to go to the affected areas with experienced and trained responders," said Anna Cabrera, PAWS Executive Director. "News coverage of the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan has given us so many sad images of people and animals. We need to bring help to them and work together towards getting them food, water, and all their most urgent needs."

Pictures of dead animals lying on the streets have started to surface online. According to the latest numbers on file from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) in the Philippines, there is an annual production of roughly 2,665 heads of cattle, 9,669 carabao, 107,367 hogs, and 1,401 goats among other farm animals in the affected Eastern Visayas. There are still no reliable estimates of the number of farm animals, companion animals or wildlife affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

IFAW and PAWS have jointly responded to natural disasters in the Philippines since 1999, including rescue operations following Typhoon Ketsana (aka Ondoy) in 2009 and Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) last year.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare



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