Thousands of animals suffering after floods in Costa Rica

August 02 2018

We rush to rescue 16,000 dogs, cows, horses, cats and other animals, who’ve been left weak and injured by the disaster in the Limón region

Above images: Our disaster response officer Sergio Vásquez check the pets in the Parismina community, that were already waiting for our help.

Working with officers from Costa Rica’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA), we’re providing emergency medical care and food for 16,187 of Limón’s most vulnerable animals.

Our aid will save thousands of animals' lives. It will reduce their suffering for at least another week and help improve their health as the floods subside.

However, we must ensure longer-term benefits for these animals so they recover properly.

Sergio Vásquez and Javier Zamora from our disaster response team, feeding animals affected by the floods.

While we’re so grateful for SENASA’s tireless efforts working with us on the ground, we'd hoped the organization would release its existing emergency veterinary fund (EVF), so more animals could be saved.

Costa Rica's Civil Defence has stepped in with additional money, but this arrived two weeks into the disaster. In future, for animals' sake, we'd like to see funding made available as soon as it is needed.

Juan Carlos, an animal owner of the area, couldn't take out these 5 cows from the flooded land. They are waiting until the water levels decrease.

Trapped

The flooding began in mid-July and has caused horrible distress for animals and their owners.

Local man Juan Carlos, aged 60, owns 22 cows, 100 chickens, three pigs, five dogs and a cat. He’s been unable to reach some of his cows who are trapped in the floodwater, and can tell they’re nervous.

Juan said: "For me, the animals that are most affected are the ones we have not been able to move. They are in the mud and there are still parts that are flooded, so they have to get through mud and water to eat the few pieces of grass that are growing."

'Held them and hugged them’

Juan Carlos’s neighbour, 75-year-old Santos Beteta, explained how he saved his dogs:

"The water level rose up to my waist and I put all my dogs on my bed. I held them and hugged them, but suddenly they were getting into the water. I took them out of the water, dried them with a t-shirt and placed them back on the bed."

Papito Lindo, one of Santos Beteta's dogs, eating food we provided.

Juan and Santos were extremely grateful for the help we provided for their animals.

Juan said: "What you have brought here for the animals and us as their owners is a blessing. I say from the bottom of my heart: thank you!"

Santos with his one of his dogs, named Bobo

Animals rely on our help

Protecting people is a priority in disasters – but animals need support too. It’s vital for animals to receive immediate attention, so their suffering is minimised.

Many people in Costa Rica rely on their animals for companionship and livelihoods, so helping animals helps their owners too.

Please consider making a donation to our disaster management fund to help us be there to protect vulnerable animals and support communities and governments to prepare.

"What you have brought here for the animals and us as their owners is a blessing. I say from the bottom of my heart: thank you!"

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