Keith Bacongco (philstar.com)
MONKAYO, Compostela Valley – The fury of Typhoon Pablo (December 3-5, 2012) not only left humans homeless but also bore upon pets and livestock animals in affected communities of Compostella Valley, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur and other provinces in Mindanao.
Like their human companions, the animals were found starving for over a week after the storm, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) reported Friday.
PAWS campaign specialist May Razon said that besides assisting typhoon victims, her group had appealed to local citizens and private organizations to provide feeds for animals in the calamity-stricken areas lest they be slaughtered.
Razon added that assistance to the animals would prevent the victims from sharing with them their own food, which has been provided by aid and is thus limited.
Vilma Islaw, a resident of Brgy. Samuag, also narrated how their house was destroyed due to strong winds on December 4 but was able to save their old aspin dog named Miong.
“We could not just leave Miong because he has been with us for so long, (and) my two children as well as my granddaughter love him,” the 48-year-old Islaw said.
Islaw, whose family has been dependent on food aid for a week now, added that they are sharing this food with Miong while at the evacuation center.
10 dogs, 20 chickens, a few ducks
Unlike Islaw who took her dog to the evacuation center, 81-year old Portia Villocino almost lost her 10 dogs when a flood hit their village—four of whom are two-month old puppies.
Villocino, a former village chief of Samuag, said she feared that the dogs and other farm animals may have drowned in the flood with her husband.
Her husband and the pets were fortunately rescued on December 4 amid deep waters and strong currents, she said.
“I thought they were drowned or carried away by the water. But I’m glad that they survived,” said Villocino who returned to her house that afternoon.
Around 20 of her chickens, however, did not survive the flood.
“But the ducks survived, they were carried away somewhere else when the water was still raging. But they were able to return home the following day,” Villocino said, adding that she is also setting aside some relief food for the animals.
Razon, meanwhile, noted that some livestock animals are starting to lose their body mass, rendering them worth less when sold.
She added that farm animals like carabaos are directly assets to the locals’ livelihood such as farming.
Joy Sibuyan, a mother of two from Compostela town, said her father’s carabao was drowned in the flood because her father was not able unleash the farm animal.
Sibuyan said they just slaughtered the carabao when the water subsided and distributed the meat to their neighbors, who were homeless too.
PAWS, along with Jennifer Gardner of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, visited the affected provinces to assess the impact of the calamity on companion animals and livestock.
Let the dogs out
In Barangay Sinobong of Veruela town in Agusan del Sur, barangay captain Adela Matood revealed that at least 200 dogs were caught by the flashflood last week.
Matood said the owners were not able to unleash the dogs when the flood came, as the villagers panicked to save themselves, too.
She said it has been a policy in their village to leash all the dogs to keep them from attacking residents.
Razon also reminded the villagers to unleash their animals in times of disaster because the animals have greater chances of survival once freed.
photos by Keith Bacongco and Ruby Thursday More