It's been nearly five months since the explosive eruptions at La Soufrière began, and it’s been four months as well since the Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) has been working to stave off starvation and dehydration of animals in the volcano red zone.
However, as it is a non-profit which works on funding and donations, the organisation said continuation of the work is challenging.
Kenvel ‘Kenneth’ Samuel is the main worker on the ground who is responsible for feeding the dogs and cats, and also sometimes even pigs, in communities in the red zone. Most days each week the VSPCA stocks up with approximately 20 bags or more of dried food for dogs and cats, a large amount of cooked food and numerous bottles of water, ready to make the trips into the red zone.
Kenneth explained that he may make up to 20 stops at the different feeding stations which have been set up in certain areas, made from pipe, and fashioned so that the dry food refills when the dogs eat feed from the base in mainly re-usable metal bowls. The operation takes hours, but the food may only last up to two days.
An eager group crowds two feeding stations in Owia (📷 VSPCA photographer Stephan Hornsey)
Further North, and closer to Fancy, the necessity of the operation is further highlighted as the majority of people are yet to return to their houses. In fact, the feeding stations furthest North were found demolished, with eager pigs being the number one suspects.
The situation in these areas remains volatile because the path to get there is still being affected by lahars, which are the volcano's mudflows.
“We are cognisant that we cannot support in this capacity forever,” Kiersten Anderson, co-founder and president of the VSPCA commented on July 21 on the matter of funding, “but I also understand that, per Kenneth (their main field worker), companion animals in and north of Orange Hill seem to be majority dependent on the VSPCA and others who are making trips up to feed animals specifically.”
“…We fortunately received donations from our GoFundMe account and have been using those disaster relief funds specifically for our fieldwork,” Anderson noted. “Food is, of course, the biggest expense.” But there other costs including maintenance, as the vehicle they use to venture into the red zone experiences a lot of wear-and-tear due to the rough terrain.
“Working as a non-profit, resources are always a struggle. We were not equipped or set up to do full-blown disaster response, but have adapted and shifted and are very grateful to domestic and international support,” the VSPCA president added. “We have many animals and people relying upon us so we are doing our best to not let them down and fortunately, have not skipped a beat. But we are also realistic that we cannot sustain this level indefinitely.
VSPCA field worker Kenneth makes his first stop at Rabacca during a trip to North Windward (📸 credit VSPCA photographer Stephan Hornsey)
DONATIONS AT WORK!
The VSPCA is continuing to work incredibly hard, four months into the disaster since the volcanic eruption on the morning of April 9, with their incredible Field Team holding down inventory and HQ operations. They have many lives dependent on them, how can you help?
Here are the primary channels they are using:
We can confirm that the VSPCA appreciates everyone’s well wishes and continued support in whatever capacity they can!
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