Ever since the earthquake in Haiti, Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) has been working to rescue animals and stop their diseases from spreading to humans — and their success has been remarkable.
Last January a massive earthquake shook the tiny country of Haiti, part of the large island Hispaniola which killed nearly 250,000 people, injured another 300,000, and displaced 1.3 million residents in the Port-au-Prince area and in much of southern Haiti. During the disaster, humanitarian relief came to help Haiti.
However, little known to most people, there was an animal relief effort going on that didn’t get as much media attention. The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) only days after the quake to supply relief for the animal survivors and help to prevent the threat of disease spreading from animals to humans.
It was led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). ARCH leaders worked with Haiti officials and the United Nations only a day after the earthquake to direct one of the biggest animal relief efforts in recent history.
During the first two months, the team of ten people treated 12,700 animals, and by a year later, ARCH has helped more than 50,000 animals.
The mainstay of the team is ARCH’s mobile veterinary clinic, which let the team go into earthquake-stricken neighborhoods and give aid and vaccinations to thousands of dogs, cats, goats, cattle, horses, and other animals. Besides treating and vaccinating animals, they also helped train local veterinarians so they could keep helping animals after the ARCH volunteers have left.
They helped to launch the country’s first-ever public awareness campaign to teach Haitians about disaster preparedness, animal care, and health issues regarding their pets and families.
No one knows Haiti’s full future, but the ARCH coalition knows that since they left, they have given Haiti the right tools to take care of its animals.