Giving aid to animals and families affected by Hurricane Patricia in Mexico
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 entered Mexican soil, its path followed a less damaging course than expected, hitting less vulnerable areas. Civil Protection authorities told World Animal Protection that landlines are still in place, allowing communication with the affected municipalities, except for two communities that have been hard to reach. Cattle-raising towns near the mountain skirts remain with little or no communication.
As part of the efforts in dealing with this emergency, and thanks to World Animal Protection’s work alongside the Mexican government, shelters have been accepting pets with their families, for the first time, protecting animals’ welfare.
Also, our preparedness and risk reduction messages, where we ask the population to keep their pets safe, have been replicated constantly 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 will arrive to 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 wreck 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 educated the Mexican population on risk reduction and how climate change can impact their livelihoods. In 2011 we began talks with the Mexican government, for them to develop risk reduction policies as part of their emergency protocols, in which they 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 with this emergency evacuation plan.