Vienna, 2 March 2023 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has dispatched an emergency relief team to help affected animals in the regions of Southern Türkiye and Northern Syria that have been severely damaged by multiple earthquakes in early February.
The team arrived on 28 February and during its stay will deliver animal food to affected areas in Türkiye and Syria via partners and directly. In Türkiye the team will provide first aid and veterinary care to animals in need and support local communities with rescue efforts.
FOUR PAWS will work together with local partners and authorities in the Kahramanmaras region and its most affected neighbouring provinces, including Kilis, Adiyaman and Elbistan.
One of the most severe natural catastrophes in recent history, the 7.8 and 6.4 magnitude earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria have claimed over 50,000 lives, and left millions in the region homeless and displaced. With its work on the ground, FOUR PAWS aims to help provide relief for humans and animals by helping local farm owners who are in need of medical care and food for their animals. The team led by FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr Amir Khalil, who has decades of experience working in disaster and conflict zones all over the world, is also ready to provide help for pets and zoo animals if needed.
During the first days on-site, the FOUR PAWS team met with the local partners in Kilis, got an overview of the ongoings and started to distribute food. They helped with treatments of injured cats and dogs in a veterinary clinic and visited a shelter that houses 140 dogs rescued from the rubble. Moreover, they sent 15 tons of animal food and ten tons of farm animal feed on its way to Adana.
“The suffering is immense, and we are grateful for the humanitarian aid that is already in place. By helping on-site and taking care of injured and starving pets and farm animals, we hope to relieve people of at least one concern they are dealing with during such challenging and sad times. We trust in the experience of our local partners, who have been working tirelessly to provide relief since this tragedy first happened and will contribute by adding our expertise. Many of the animals have suffered a heartbreaking fate and need treatment urgently. Some stories are truly unique, including a cat that survived under the rubble for 18 days, and a service dog who got injured during the rescue searches. We will do everything we can to help them, and as many other animals in need as possible."
Dr Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian
To help as efficiently as possible FOUR PAWS will work together with local animal welfare and humanitarian organisations in Türkiye and Syria, as well as with relevant authorities, stakeholders, and the veterinary medicine faculty of Uludag. In coordination with the local partners, the FOUR PAWS team is supervising distributions of animal food to local owners and aiding with the care and transport of animals to local shelters and veterinary clinics. After providing initial emergency relief, the FOUR PAWS team will further evaluate which continued help is needed most urgently for animals in the region during the ongoing recovery efforts.
Expertise in regions affected by disaster and conflict zones
FOUR PAWS has been active in areas affected by disasters for almost ten years, operating in regions that have been hit by natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes or droughts. Moreover, FOUR PAWS has over a decade of experience providing emergency medical care and animal rescues in conflict zones all over the world, including Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq.
Most recently, FOUR PAWS helped refugees from Ukraine and their pets both at the border when the war began, as well as by delivering food to zoos in the most affected areas and continuing its Stray Animal Care project within the country.
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org