WASHINGTON: The US Virgin Island of St. John has been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria over the past weeks. Trees are uprooted, houses destroyed, and families separated from their companion animals. Today, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) deployed their disaster response team to help reunite people with the animals they were forced to leave behind during the evacuations for both catastrophic storms.
Teams from IFAW previously performed assessments and delivered emergency relief for community animals after Hurricane Irma, but were evacuated in the face of Hurricane Maria. IFAW's experts in disaster response and animal welfare have returned to continue relief and assessment on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas. The team will also reunite rescued animals with their families. With help from local partners GreaterGood.org, Wings of Rescue, and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), IFAW will deliver supplies to St. John, prepare the animals for transportation and accompany them to their owners stateside.
"Disasters like the horrific hurricanes we have witnessed over the last few weeks in the Caribbean often separate families from their companion animals," said Shannon Walajtys, Disaster Response Manager at IFAW. "Our first priority is to address the life-saving needs of animals affected by disaster. Once those are met, we support with animal owners and community leaders with supplies and guidance on how best to start recovering together."
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