TOPICS

We celebrate 55 years of protecting animals in disaster situations

We celebrate 55 years of protecting animals in disaster situations

World Animal Protection is commemorating its 55th anniversary of rescuing animals in disasters around the world.

September 3, 2019- More than five decades ago, a young man named John Walsh started the disaster work of World Animal Protection (then called the International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) with a rescue operation in Suriname called ‘Operation Gwamba’: where more than 10,000 animals were rescued from floods. At the time, no other organization was doing disaster animal rescue. Walsh says: "One of our general rules for choosing projects in those days was to do the most good for the most animals for the longest period of time."

In the past 55 years, World Animal Protection has responded to more than 250 disasters and protected more than 8 million animals around the world. The team has been through earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, and shipwrecks. The organization is equipped with a worldwide disaster response network that is ready to be deployed in the event of an emergency, and has reached the world's largest disasters, including the conflict zones of Bosnia, Rwanda and Afghanistan.

It is estimated that more than one billion of the world's poorest people depend on animals for food, transportation and a living. When animals die during disasters, it has a devastating impact on the people who depend on them for their company and income.

Animals protected in disasters include pets and livestock of people whose homes have been devastated. World Animal Protection disaster response teams provide food, water, medical care and other emergency assistance to animals in need; they also help evacuate animals from danger and reunite them with their owners when they have been separated.

Animals protected in disasters include pets and livestock of people whose homes have been devastated. World Animal Protection disaster response teams provide food, water, medical care and other emergency assistance to animals in need; they also help evacuate animals from danger and reunite them with their owners when they have been separated.

To celebrate the anniversary, World Animal Protection is proud to launch the Don't forget them campaign. In addition to responding to disasters, the team works throughout the year to help countries prepare to reduce the risk of a disaster to animals and their owners.

Through this work, we encourage governments, international agencies, and local and national partners to include animals in their plans, policies, and practices. The disaster response team:

While disaster response correctly prioritizes people's immediate needs, long-term recovery from disasters is inextricably linked to the well-being of their animals. After more than two decades of lobbying by World Animal Protection, international organizations such as the UN, the Red Cross, and the FAO are becoming more receptive to the fact that communities rely heavily on agriculture to provide stability for their future.

To learn more, please visit:

Video: Sense Of Danger: How Animals Anticipate Disasters Natural Disaster Documentary. Real Wild (October 2020).