Race against time: Animals in urgent need after massive earthquakes in Middle East

FOUR PAWS and partner NGOs deliver vital support to dogs, cats and farm animals


London 22 February 2023 – After two devastating earthquakes struck the region of Southern Türkiye and Northern Syria, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has made all its capacities available to three of the most affected provinces in Türkiye – Hatay, Osmaniye and Malatya, for urgent help of animals.

Turkish partner organisation, HayTap, has been working tirelessly since the disaster happened, pulling out animals out of debris and delivery of first aid on-site in designated field tents for medical treatments. Around 700 animals were already saved due to their immediate response.

FOUR PAWS Disaster Relief expert, Dr Jackson Zee, estimates a maximum of ten days within animals can still be rescued alive until the vital window closes forever. FOUR PAWS has been active in areas affected by natural disasters for almost ten years now.

Dr Jackson Zee, who leads the FOUR PAWS Disaster Preparedness and Resilience program (DPRP) says: “I have witnessed a lot of natural disasters but these two major earthquakes from last week stand out in their impact on living creatures in the region. Our efforts have to be immediate and effective but also sensitively applied as the humanitarian crisis has not subsided. Our main goal now is to support our partners with everything we can deliver, logistics, financial aid, and expertise. A lot of animals, including dogs, cows but also birds and sheep could already be re-united with their owners. Others, which tragically lost their owners are brought to shelters in bigger cities such as Istanbul and Ankara. It is a race against time, and every minute counts.”

The devastating eruptions that have shaken the Anatolian plate underneath the border of Türkiye to Syria and tragically caused over 46,000 human casualties, had a devastating impact on all of society. The reconstruction works are estimated to take years if not a decade.

Along with supporting HayTap’s search and rescue activities, the help FOUR PAWS provides entails costs for veterinary treatments and supplies, first aid, and feeding, as well as providing safe temporary homes for the animals in need until a long-term solution is found.

CEO of FOUR PAWS, Josef Pfabigan adds: “The humanitarian crisis is immense with the death toll rising every day and locals mourning over their losses of family members and friends. Also companion animals such as dogs and cats as well as farm animals are suffering from injuries, malnutrition and stress. FOUR PAWS has been active in areas affected by natural disasters for almost ten years now and we will do our utmost to stand with our local partner organisations as those animals are dependent on our help.”

Head of Communications UK: Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker

Head of Communications UK


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