IFAW-WTI animal rescue teams reach cyclone-stricken area in India

BHUBANESHWAR, Odisha, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) have dispatched a rescue team to provide emergency relief to animals affected by the super cyclone Phailin that saw the largest evacuation drive in the country.

With nearly 900,000 relocated from the coast by the government, a high likelihood of animals getting displaced triggered the action by the team.

To minimize animal casualty, IFAW-WTI mobilized their Rapid Action Project (RAP) and Emergency Relief Network (ERN) team to coordinate with local rescuers, veterinarians and volunteers across the state as well as in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh.

Upon arrival in Bhubaneshwar, Radhika Bhagat, Head of WTI's Wild Aid division said, "With quick support from IFAW, we have begun mobilizing our resources.  "We will be meeting authorities here to identify worst affected areas and have also begun communications with former RAP implementers, grass roots NGOs and ERN members from both states for joint action."

The IFAW-WTI team reached the south-eastern coastal Ganjam district this morning, and is currently assessing the damage around the town for animal relief interventions. They will move to Kendrapara tomorrow, while a veterinarian remains in Ganjam to address animal relief needs.

"During such disasters, food shortage and spreading of diseases are the major threats to animals," said Dr Reetika Maheshwari, Officer-in-Charge, IFAW-WTI ERN.  "We have already begun the process of procuring fodder and medicines."

A request has been received to assist in the rescue of birds in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh adjoining Ganjam in Odisha. Efforts are on to evaluate the situation even as preparations are made to dispatch additional IFAW-WTI veterinarians from northeast India and experienced bird rehabilitators and ERN members from Delhi.

Rudra Prasanna Mahapatra, IFAW-WTI Field Officer said, "This time we saw a very commendable action by the authorities, saving hundreds and thousands of lives.  We are providing assistance to help minimize animal casualties."

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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