Tessa Salazar Philippine Daily Inquirer
Time is running out on the stranded pets and livestock clinging to dear life in the still flooded areas of Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija provinces. Their human masters have either abandoned them and gone to evacuation centers, or cannot tend to them for lack of supplies.
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) and Humane Society International (HSI) observed during an inspection of the worst-hit areas on Oct. 2 that a large number of animals remained stranded on the roofs of houses in Calumpit, Bulacan.
PAWS executive director Anna Hashim Cabrera said roughly 30 dogs and cats and 80 farm animals (chickens, goats, cows and turkeys) were seen during the Sunday inspection led by Luis Buenaflor of AKF.
“This is based only on the two areas they (AKF, HSI and PAWS) managed to reach on foot,” Cabrera told the Inquirer by e-mail.
The three groups, along with like-minded others such as Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (Cara) and International Fund for Animal Welfare, are to revisit the remaining flooded areas on Oct. 10, and once every week thereafter.
“The plan is to do weekly outreach or onsite feeding because it was estimated that the waters will recede only after a month,” Cabrera said.
Call for donations
But help is badly needed.
“We need donations of dog and cat food, as well as feeds for chickens, goats and cows. We would also appreciate donations of old clothes and packed food for humans so that we can distribute these along with the donations for the animals,” Cabrera said.
Donations may be dropped off at the PAWS animal shelter (Aurora Boulevard, Katipunan Valley, Loyola Heights, Quezon City) during office hours, Monday to Saturday, Cabrera said. A directional map to PAWS is available at www.paws.org.ph.
Those who prefer to give cash may deposit their donations to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (Bank of the Philippine Islands Swift No. BOPIPHMM, BPI dollar savings account No. 3944-0021-61, BPI peso savings account No. 3943-0086-11; or Philippine National Bank Swift No. PNBM PHMM, peso account No. 072-830174-0).
Donors are requested to fax to PAWS (475-1688) a copy of their validated deposit slip with a note “for the animal typhoon victims,” unless they wish to remain anonymous.
“We sent out a similar call for donations on Facebook over a week ago,” Cabrera said. “But so far, the only donations that have come in were two small bags of dog food, dropped off during the animal blessing at Eastwood.”
Disaster response team
On the phone with the Inquirer, Cabrera said the disaster response team would leave the PAWS animal shelter at 9 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2011
The team will leave weekly rations with caretakers or local officials in the areas. PAWS, AKF and Cara will go every week for four weeks until the rations run out or the floodwaters subside, whichever comes first.
Injured animals will be treated onsite, if possible. Taking a dog or cat for emergency treatment is the last resort.
“For big farm animals like cows, we can only do onsite treatment and feeding, as well as coordinate with locals on how to improve their sheltering conditions,” Cabrera said.
UPDATES ON OUR RESCUE AND RELIEF OPERATION
as reported by Anna Cabrera of PAWS
Below is the total number of animals fed during outreach in Hagonoy, Bulacan last Monday- October 10, 2011
It has already been a week since the the typhoon hit Bulacan but this part of Hagonoy remained submerged in knee-deep water. In this area, it was heartbreaking to see that each dog, duck or chicken we fed – hurriedly gobbled up the food we gave them – as if they have not been fed sufficiently for days.
Some caged pigeons went into a ‘feeding frenzy’ when we poured chicken feed into their cages. We advised owner to consider freeing them so they can forage food for themselves. We gave this advice to all owners with caged chickens, dogs and those with no food in their cages.
A rail-thin goat received some feeds and a vitamin shot from our volunteer veterinarian David Arceo. All the owners welcomed the food donations for their animals (note: we also distributed some packs of food for humans).
We visited the Municipality officers and found that even distribution of relief items for humans was slow in coming, and done mostly by private charity groups or the town mayors themselves. Bureaucracy and red tape in requesting for funds has made it very difficult for relief to come in a timely manner – animals are either sold off immediately for slaughter to avoid livestock losses while companion animals have had to settle for scraps and whatever their human guardians could spare from their food rations.
The animals were very hungry. It’s a good thing we conducted relief operations, as it alleviated hunger. We left additional food and supplies for the guardians and told them we will be back again next week for a follow-up visit.
On Saturday (October 15, 2011), PAWS is planning to go back to that area we have not been able to reach – San Jose – which is said to have thigh-high waters, just to distribute food.
For more photos click: Relief Operation Typhoon Pedring Quiel Victims Bulacan