On February 6, 2023, Turkey and Syria experienced earthquakes and aftershocks that caused the devastation of thousands of buildings and multiple cities.
The human casualties are confirmed to have reached more than 50,000, though this number is predicted to double. With 14 million people purported to be displaced as a result of the disaster, thoughts are also turning to the vast number of non-human animals who have been impacted by the catastrophe.
The Turkish Vegan Society (TVS) reports that the affected region is traditionally teeming with animals, and that there is little to no access to animal welfare funding. Those most affected appear to be dogs, cats, sheep, chickens, cows, goats, and donkeys.
An ‘apocalyptic scene’
At the end of February, a project manager for the TVS visited an area devastated by earthquakes. They described the scene as apocalyptic and revealed the difficulty facing those attempting to rescue animals.
“Animals are rescued from under the rubble, or evacuated buildings, receive first aid and other veterinary care, are then returned to their families if they are alive, but in most cases are rehomed or taken to a sanctuary,” they told Plant Based News.
“Although rescue operations have been making a massive difference, the main and most urgent need is funding, so that the operations can continue, especially before the damaged buildings are demolished, many of which are still home to trapped animals.”
Supporting animal rescues in Turkey and Syria
For anyone who wants to help support rescue and rehabilitation endeavors, there are two operations that come recommended by the TVS:
Angels Farm Sanctuary
Together with H.A.R.K People & Animal Search and Rescue, Angels Farm Sanctuary is organizing rescue missions. The two work together to provide first aid for injured animals and take any that need extra care back to the sanctuary itself, in Izmir, Turkey.
The sanctuary is in dire need of supplies, including food, fuel and materials to build new shelters to accommodate the animals it is taking stewardship of.
Justice for Animals Association
Working with Four-Legged City, the Justice for Animals Association, also based in Turkey, is mobilizing members to carry out rescue operations and vital deliveries. Food, medical equipment and animal carriers are being ferried continuously while surviving animals are taken to places of safety. Once out of danger, the association attempts to locate original owners, to reunite them with their animals but when this is not possible, adoptions are organized.
Critically, the association organized a contingent of vets to be on hand to provide medical care to injured animals.
As expected, there is a need for financial support and costs are mounting. More fuel, carriers, food and vets are needed, all of which cost money.