In focus: natural disasters in New Zealand

Disasters can be deadly because they can strike at any time and without warning. It is necessary to be prepared, act early and stay safe.

With more than 50 years of experience in disaster zones around the world, including New Zealand, World Animal Protection knows that the lives of people are linked with that of their pets.

Many of the world’s poorest people are totally reliant on animals for food, transport and their livelihoods. Whilst pets are also valued as important companions the world over. Helping disaster-struck animals therefore not reduces their immediate distress, it also helps the people and the communities they share their life with, recover and rebuild quicker.

To find out more about our work globally, take a look at our animals in disasters work.

Our disaster work in New Zealand

To address the need for animal protection in a disaster, in New Zealand, the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management (NAWEM) Advisory Group of which World Animal Protection is a member, was started in 2006.

NAWEM is a cluster of agencies with the purpose of providing advice on animal welfare issues during emergencies.

NAWEM is formally recognised by the New Zealand Government, as a cluster of organisations which can assist and advise civil defence planners. It is made up of representatives from; World Animal Protection; The Royal New Zealand SPCA (RNZSPCA); the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA); the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM); the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI); New Zealand Institute of Animal Control Officers (NZIACO); Federated Farmers of New Zealand; Massey University and the New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC).

New Zealand guidance for the welfare of pets in an emergency

NAWEM has drafted New Zealand’s first comprehensive guidance for the welfare of pets in an emergency: The National Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Plan 2015. This technical information will assist the country’s civil defence emergency management planners, and others responsible for animals in an emergency, on how to develop companion animal (pets) emergency welfare plans for their local area. 

You can read more here.


How New Zealand helps animals in disasters

NAWEM members from MPI, SPCA and Massey University have been trained and are able to assist the World Animal Protection’s Disaster  Assessment Response Teams (DARTs) in the Pacific and, should the need arise, Asia.

World Animal Protection is the only animal welfare organisation to have a full-time, dedicated disaster team, which these DART teams feed into. 

With this dedicated disaster team and more than 50 years of experience in the disaster field, World Animal Protection is the world leader in animal disaster management work.

Steven Clegg reassures puppy Pam as Dr Pholperm treats her the previous day.

Protect your pet in a disaster

Do you have a plan to protect your pet when disaster strikes?

Disasters can happen without warning in New Zealand. The Christchurch Earthquake (Feb 2011) proves they can also be deadly.

These disasters can strike at any time and without a plan you could make panicked decisions that could put your pet, yourself and family at risk.

Prepare a disaster plan for your pet or be prepared to potentially lose each other forever. 

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