Floods disaster in the Balkans: FOUR PAWS disaster relief team on its way to Serbia
The devastating floods in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia have resulted in dozens of dead and missing people and tens of thousand of people have lost everything, but also countless animals suffer because of the floods. In light of this, FOUR PAWS has sent two disaster relief teams to Serbia consisting of experienced vets and logisticians. The international welfare organisation was asked officially for support by the Serbian government and is now the first animal welfare organisation on site.
First care for farm animals
The catastrophic floods have destroyed nearly everything in the Balkans. Tens of thousand people have lost their homes and many farms were destroyed completely. But also innumerable animals have lost their lives in the disaster or were left on their own due to evacuation of their owners. Therefore priority is first care for injured and abandoned farm animals. Dr. Amir Khalil, Lead Disaster Relief at FOUR PAWS, coordinates the 15-person mission team in the Balkans: “Our first priority is first care for farm animals. Many people have lost their homes and farms, some were completely destroyed. In such a situation people don’t have any resources to support their animals. Our relief mission has a dual purpose as we are helping animals and humans at the same time.”
Operation centre in Belgrade
FOUR PAWS will concentrate on the two destroyed cities of Obrenovac and Bravec. The 20,000 inhabitants of the city Obrenovac were severely affected as 80% of the city was flooded. Whole flocks of sheep were carried away by the floods and many other animals are still stuck in mud and will not manage to escape without human help. To support the two disaster relief teams FOUR PAWS has set up an operation centre in Belgrade to organise food and medical supplies. The veterinarians on site will treat injured farm animals with medical supplies, distribute food and also bring smaller companion animals, such as dogs or strays, to emergency facilities. For this purpose, FOUR PAWS has organised boats to be able to provide fast and efficient help for regions still flooded.
Food supplies to Bosnia
Bosnia has also been severely hit by the devastating floods. However, the situation on site is too dangerous for the disaster relief teams as the floods loosened land mines and increased the danger of explosions. At the moment a relief mission is too dangerous, but FOUR PAWS will initiate the immediate transport of food supplies to Bosnia.
Experienced disaster relief team
The experienced team around Amir Khalil has been providing active disaster relief for animals for many years now and has already been to various disaster areas, for example in Kosovo, in the Gulf War in Baghdad, after the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, the catastrophic drought in the region of Samburu/Kenya, the floods in Pakistan, and the Egyptian revolution as well as the last mission after the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. When a natural disaster strikes, a few days can make all the difference between life and death. Our rescue team provides quick and direct support – rescuing and evacuating animals, providing medical treatment and vaccinations, distributing feed and building emergency shelters. On site we cooperate closely with local aid agencies, supporting all people involved with our expert knowledge.