WVS has a proven track record in disaster emergency response
The very first WVS Emergency Response team was sent in May 2008, after receiving an urgent request to help vaccinate and treat animals in Internally Displaced Persons camps (IDP camps), which had been established following the post election violence in Kenya. Working alongside MSF, the Red Cross and USAID in conjunction with a local charity and representatives from the Kenyan Veterinary Dept, WVS was the only international aid organisation supporting the refugees with a comprehensive livestock initiative that was a tremendous success.
During the 10 day trip the two-man WVS team traveled over 1,500 miles, visited 12 camps/villages/resettlement bases and treated/vaccinated 8,774 animals who would have otherwise received no veterinary care. A follow up team was sent 4 months later who treated a further 1,537 animals.
Since this time WVS has assisted on many other emergency responses. Here is a list of some of the projects over the past few years:
• WVS provided bandages and wound treatments to charities dealing with the animal victims of the bush fires in Australia.
• Emergency veterinary supplies were sent to help the animals of Gaza Zoo during the conflict.
• Veterinary supplies were sent to assist charities dealing with the animal casualties of the L’Aquila earthquake in Italy
• A further team was sent to Kenya - 1,387 animals were treated and a research project on Rabies perception was also carried out.
• A specialist veterinary team were sent to provide emergency treatment to rescued dancing bears at a sanctuary in Serbia.
• WVS provided emergency support to a charity in Hungary who dealt with the rescue and treatment of hundreds of animals left homeless and injured following a toxic spill from a chemical waste reservoir which swept through a town just south of Budapest.
• 4 WVS veterinary teams were sent to Egypt in early 2011 to assist the animal shelters that had become overrun with animals which had been abandoned during the political unrest. Training was also provided to local vets. The first WVS team was on the ground 4 days after the pinnacle of the rebellion and helping the dog and cat shelters in Cairo that were overwhelmed with abandoned and injured animals.
• An emergency team was sent to Thailand in October after a lorry was stopped, close to the Vietnam border carrying 800 dogs bound for the illegal dog meat trade. The dogs had been kept in cramped conditions and many were suffering from injuries and respiratory problems. They were taken to a nearby quarantine station where our team was able to help provide emergency treatment for those most in need.
• In late 2011 flooding caused wide spread chaos in Thailand. Thousands of animals were left homeless, stranded, without food and often suffering with injuries. Working with several Thai animal welfare charities, WVS sent a total of 4 veterinary teams to help deal with the influx of animal casualties requiring treatment as well ongoing support with the provision of veterinary equipment and supplies.
• In May 2013 WVS were contacted by Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, when over 2,000 dogs were intercepted by authorities. The dogs were on there way across the border to vietnam for the illegal dog meat trade. The dogs were in desperate need of treatment and the shelter caring for them needed urgent help to prevent the spread of disease through the overrun pens. WVS vets were in Thailand 24 hours after the initial request for help.
• Veterinary volunteers were sent to Botswana to control an outbreak of the distemper virus, a fatal disease that could have proved fatal not only for the local stray population but for the surrounding wildlife, many of which are endangered species.
• Continuous, heavy rainfall in mid-May 2014 resulted in extensive flooding in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. WVS sent emergency supplies and support to animal charities working in these areas to help the animal victims of the floods.
• The Nepal Earthquake devastated communities in May 2015, destroying houses and killing over 8,000 people and animals. Alongside sending veterinary supplies to Kathmandu, a WVS team immediately visited the VSC of Ghaire Bishona Deubur and undertook veterinary care on injured livestock, including a pregnant cow, a goat, and buffalo.
• Within the first few weeks of January, WVS was alerted to the case of 3 starving lions in an abandoned Armenian zoo. Our vet team attended the zoo within 48 hours and took on the project. In just 20 days, WVS had got the lions safely out of their prison and moved to a private nature reserve just hours away. WVS then worked with IAR and the FPWC to build a wildlife rescue centre where the lions could be rehabilitated, with the aim of flying them out of Armenia to a sanctuary in the UK.