Giving aid to animals and families affected by Hurricane Patricia in Mexico

26 October 2015

Hurricane Patricia officially became a tropical storm after reaching the Pacific coast in Mexico, with gust winds of up to 340 Km/h.

Even though Hurricane Patricia caused a lot of damage as it made landfall in Mexico, its path followed a less damaging course than expected. Civil Protection authorities told World Animal Protection that with the exception of two communities that have been hard to reach, communication has been possible with affected municipalities.

As part of the emergency prepardness efforts, and thanks to World Animal Protection’s work with the Mexican government, for the first time, shelters have been accepting pets with their families, protecting the animals’ welfare.

Additionally, our preparedness and risk reduction messages, where we ask the population to keep their pets safe, have been broadcast throughout preparing for the impact of this storm by Mexican government authorities.

Facing the emergency

Aristóteles Sandoval, Governor of the state of Jalisco, told the University of Guadalajara that gust winds have been an obstacle for search and rescue teams.

“Civil Protection is patrolling the streets and removing tree trunks and debris. We have palm trees and billboards all over the ground, house roofs that caved in, damaged roads and crops. Fortunately, no human lives have been lost”, Sandoval said.

Miguel Castro Reynoso, Secretary of Development and Social Integration, confirmed that everything is ready to activate the State Disasters Fund, which could also benefit from additional funds from the Federal Government.

World Animal Protection has arrived in Mexico to assess the impact of Hurricane Patricia on community and farm animals, and to work alongside the Mexican government to secure the welfare of animals and the families that depend on them, both emotionally and as a part of their livelihood.

Protecting animals in disasters

Ensuring the welfare of pets and farm animals is crucial before, during and after an emergency. Affected families depend on them as a key resilience factor to overcome the crisis.

This is why World Animal Protection’s work in the damaged areas will include evaluating the damage caused by Patricia, and supporting local authorities with necessary funds for water and food, and veterinary assistance.

SInce 1975, our Disaster Management team has been working in Mexico during hurricanes, droughts, floods and other emergencies. For many years we've been educating the Mexican population on risk reduction and how climate change can impact their livelihoods. In 2011 we began talks with the Mexican government to help them develop risk reduction policies as part of their emergency protocols that would include animals in communities and animals in farming.

Thanks to this effort, our key messages of emergency preparedness with animals are being replicated in official communications, and pets are being allowed in shelters for the first time.

Also, in September 2015 we were part of a drill in memory of the 30th anniversary of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico's Federal District, where more than 3,000 people lost their lives or were injured.

Events like Hurricane Patricia can strike at any time. Learn how you can keep your family and pets safe.

Credit for Top Photo: AP/Eduardo Verdugo

"We commend Mexico for not forgetting animals in disasters - for the first time they were accepted into shelters with people"
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