Haiti Government Requests WSPA's Aid: ARCH Team Prepares for Departure

Jan 21, 2010, 15:40 ET from World Society for the Protection of Animals

BOSTON, HEREEIA, Costa Rica and LONDON, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has received official communication from the Government of Haiti, requesting our immediate assistance and asking that WSPA staff be deployed to help with the emergency relief operation 'as soon as possible.'

The Director of Inspection and Vigilance for the Environment, Environmental Department of the Government of Haiti has written to WSPA stating that:

"After the information exchanges that we have been keeping and given the magnitude of the disaster suffered by Haiti, putting the country under great risk of infecto-contagious diseases spread and possible animal epidemic outbreaks; … both the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Department… have agreed that WSPA aid is very important… (and) suggest that WSPA should organise a trip to Haiti as soon as possible."

Gerardo Huertas, Director of Disaster Management for the Americas, WSPA says, "Over the last few days, WSPA's team of highly trained emergency relief staff have been preparing for just such an opportunity. We have put together the equipment and medicines that we expect will be needed in Haiti and are flying in to Santo Domingo today, in order to proceed into Port au Prince at the earliest possible opportunity. This official request from the Haitians makes me even more confident that we, and our colleagues joining the coordinated ARCH effort, will be in Haiti very shortly and will be able to complete a first-hand assessment of the situation on the ground."

The joint ARCH team is expected to be on the ground in Haiti on Saturday January 23rd, and will be able to release information and images soon after.

Cecily West, WSPA-U.S. Executive Director says, "The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have come together to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) and are coordinating ARCH efforts so that all animal welfare organizations involved in response efforts in Haiti can work together and make sure emergency aid reaches as many animals, and in as short a time, as possible."

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is the world's largest alliance of animal welfare organizations. We partner with our member societies to develop animal welfare campaigns and projects, education initiatives and respond to animals affected by disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake.

Website: www.wspa-usa.org

For updates on the WSPA disaster work, go to: Animals in Disaster blog: http://www.animalsindisasters.typepad.com/

SOURCE World Society for the Protection of Animals