As the death toll from Typhoon Pablo in the Philippines rises to 332 and thousands more people remain missing, Network for Animals are beginning to evaluate how and when our disaster relief team will be able to distribute aid to animals affected by this natural disaster.

Typhoons are not uncommon in the Philippines and in recent years there have been several disasters which have left thousands dead and many more displaced. The devastating consequences of typhoons vary depending on their scale and location, although recent improvements to early warning systems and disaster response have helped lessen the impact.

Our vet in Mindanao, Dino, usually mobilises a team to head out to the worst hit areas following these events and provides aid for animals and help and advice for their owners.  The main thrust of this type of disaster relief work is providing emergency food for animals displaced by the floods.  In addition to food, contamination of water supplies is often a problem, so the distribution of safe, clean water is a priority.  Where possible, Dino also tries to immunise animals against the diseases which can be rife in poor conditions and also liaise with evacuation centres over issues such as whether pets can be kept with their owners.

The first step in ascertaining what level of assistance we can offer to the worst hit areas involves identifying the infrastructure issues which may prevent access and the level of aid already provided by the Government to people in the area.  Dino has already reached out to veterinarians in the hardest hit areas.  At the moment the Compostela valley seems to have suffered particularly badly. Normally this area would be accessible in six hours from Dino’s home, but the current condition of the roads is unclear.

Timing is critical following a typhoon. We want to provide prompt and effective assistance to animals and their owners affected by the disaster, but we also need to ensure that the official disaster relief teams are able to provide emergency assistance to the communities in critical situations before we step in.

So currently, we need to wait for reports from our contacts on the ground before we mobilise our team.  We will bring you news as soon as we have it.