Colombia’s end-of-year rainy season, combined with La Niña weather phenomenon, has caused the worst flooding in the country in nearly 40 years. Floods and landslides have affected hundreds of thousands of families and their animals. For the past several months, WSPA has been addressing the current animal welfare need in the hardest-hit regions of the country.
By the end of 2010, WSPA had provided aid to thousands of animals affected by the flooding in four different locations throughout Colombia, including the areas near the capital city, Bogota. Last week, our disaster management team headed up to the northern coast of the country, where many dogs, pigs, poultry are in desperate need of our help.
Since August 2010, La Niña phenomenon has wreaked havoc in many Colombian provinces. The latest updates by authorities report that more than 2.23 million people have been affected by the heavy rains in the country.
Tens of thousands of cattle have died and it’s estimated that 20% of the livestock’s grazing lands have been affected by the flooding, preventing the surviving animals from grazing and, thus, worsening the situation.
What’s more is that, according to meteorologist experts, the heavy rains are expected to continue in the region through at least March.
The impact on stray animals
After dealing with the disaster in the interior provinces, WSPA embarked on another emergency relief operation. A disaster management team – comprised of WSPA staff, veterinarians from the WSPA’s Veterinary Emergency Response Unit (VERU) and member societies – was deployed to the province of Atlantico, bringing sacks of food, treatments and veterinary equipment to the disaster-stricken locations.
Some of the most affected regions have a significant stray problem and, because of this, there are a great number of dogs competing with people for the minimal available resources. WSPA has started feeding those stray dogs and taking them to veterinary facilities in the main city to be treated. Local WSPA member societies are committed to finding responsible and lovely homes for those dogs, so they can live a nicer life with a family after recovery.
Several dogs and cats in the towns are also suffering from skin diseases, parasites and injuries from fighting with other animals. Our veterinary team is currently providing hands-on treatment to those animals, as well.
Ongoing relief efforts
So far, WSPA has assisted approximately 3,000 animals – not only dogs and cats, but also pigs, goats, cattle and poultry. WSPA is providing them with food and vaccinating them to prevent diseases.
The WSPA veterinary team will stay in the disaster zone for at least eight more days, continuing to provide relief to thousands of more animals in towns that were devastated by the flooding.