Following Typhoon Washi, which struck Mindanao in the Philippines last weekend, we dispatched our vet in the region along to the worst hit areas with a disaster relief team to provide food and emergency care to displaced animals.  The typhoon caused widespread devastation across the region, washing away homes, businesses and lives.  With nearly 1000 people officially dead and many more missing, the consequences for people and animals in the area are dire.  We took the decision for our disaster team to distribute food and treat stray animals, but also to provide rice for people who were struggling in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Dino and his team are working long hours in a precarious situation encompassing health risks and a demolished infrastructure.  His first report describes the tragedy in terms of devastating lost, but a gritty determination to pick up and carry on.

“We did feeding in Iligan City yesterday. It was a successful yet pitiful situation there.  There were many dogs that died and there are still plenty left. There are stories of canine heroism, of dogs that saved the lives of their owners by barking and wet dogs jumping into beds that awakened their owners.  There are plenty of orphaned dogs, which you can see from the pictures I sent you. The city stinks and the smells are awful. Many people are wearing masks while they work here.  It’s also very dusty from dried mud.  The city is in disaster state.

We did house to house distribution of dog food and rice. People could not be pulled out from their areas, instead they are making shanties or removing mud and staying where they are. Others are just along the roads with simply no place to go. Dogs ate dog food even if they are not used to it due to their hunger.  Water is also a big problem for humans and animals.  The city vets personnel are very active and were all there with me. They will continue the dog food and rice distribution while there is supply.  We will work here in Cagayan de Oro today with some people from the province.  We work the whole day today.”

Dino’s team will continue to work alongside the city vets and other aid agencies until the situation stabilizes.  We’ll bring your more reports when we have them.