Pets emerge from the earthquake rubble

Pets emerge from the earthquake rubble
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As search and rescue efforts are ongoing in the earthquake zone that encompasses ten cities in Southeastern Turkey, animal welfare organizations depend on tips to locate trapped animals and to provide food and care.
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On the eleventh day following the Maras-centered earthquakes that created a humanitarian tragedy in the ten affected provinces in southeastern Turkey, animals are also among the lives pulled out from the wreckage.


While search and rescue teams attempt to find survivors, organizations such as the Animal Rights Federation (HAYTAP) are also hard at work. HAYTAP representatives in Antakya break down doors of damaged buildings or root through the rubble to find pets.

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According to the Associated Press, four field hospitals to care for rescued animals, both strays and pets, have been set up across the earthquake zone. However, they currently face shortages of animal food and depend on donations.

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HAYTAP has also brought 100 pets from the earthquake region to the province of Bursa for treatment. These pets will be temporarily rehomed until their owners are found.


The situation is much the same in northwest Syria, where veterinarians with Ernesto’s Sanctuary for Cats pull out both pets and farm animals from the rubble.


Ernesto’s founder Alessandra Abidin says that her organization, based in Idlib, is the only one focused on saving animals in the earthquake aftermath. Though the White Helmets ended their recovery missions for humans this Saturday, the search for animals has not stopped. Ernesto’s Sanctuary, armed only with an animal ambulance, a hammer, and metal cutters, has saved many wounded dogs, abandoned cows, and trapped cats.

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Speaking to the Washington Post, Ernesto’s veterinarian Mohamad Youssef comments on the importance of the animals: “After a traumatic event such as an earthquake … pets provide a love that few humans can match, a psychological support that can be a lifeline following so much loss.”