Help save animals caught in devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

22 פברואר 2023

While people are still being rescued from the rubble in Turkey and Syria, rescuers of Animal Save Turkey have started a parallel and less documented operation, risking their lives to save the huge number of pets and farm animals that have been abandoned, ‘orphaned’, trapped in buildings and deprived of food and water by the unimaginably devastating earthquakes that hit the border region. “We are working hard under very difficult circumstances surrounded by death and suffering. Yet, we want to continue our efforts for all animals, whether lost in buildings or left in farms,” Nilgün Engin of Animal Save Turkey tells the Georgian weekly Georgia Today. “We can use all the support we can get.”

Animal rescuers of Animal Save Turkey working in the earthquake area.

As media worldwide have covered and rescuers on the ground stress, utter chaos and suffering are the result of the first huge earthquake and its continuous aftershocks. While human death toll has now reportedly passed 41.000 and is still going up, animal loss is unreported and undocumented. Pets like dogs, cats, birds and mice are trapped in cages, buildings and stuck in the rubble, or roaming the streets in panic to find food and water – mostly in vain. Farm animals like horses and sheep have been left abandoned and unattended inside farms. Animal Save Turkey, the local branch of the international Animal Save Movement has teamed up with other animal organizations in the country to do whatever they can to help these animals and the people helping them.

“Many of our friends are risking their lives to enter damaged buildings to rescue animals, but this is something we feel we must do,” tells Nilgün Engin, organizer of the Ankara Save Chapters and Regional Liaison for the Middle East and South Africa of Animal Save Türkiye. “We are normally living in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, but now we are working in shifts to go to Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Malatya, Adıyaman, Hatay (Antakya) and where calls for help come from. We are delivering pet food, pet boxes, as well as water, food, blankets, baby formula, diapers and hygiene materials for the survivors. We provide rescue transfer support to the animals in need, and also send water and feed to farm animals though their owners or local groups.”

Surviving animals receive medical care by local vets and are taken into safety to Ankara and Izmir, where other teams coordinate adoption procedures, the transportation of supplies to the disaster area’s and fundraising efforts. “We can use all the support we can get, because it will matter for each and every cat, dog, bird, mouse, horse and sheep.” Other organizations involved in animal search and rescue in the area are the Animal Rights Watch Committee HAKİM, the Turkish Vegan Association, BURHAK and Hayvanlara Adalet Derneği.

Donate now, to help save animals in Turkey and Syria!
To make sure funds truly get to the animals in need through trustworthy animal rescue organisations, the Animal Save Movement is in close contact with its long-time partners on the ground. Its Dutch branch, Animal Save Netherlands, has set up a central fundraiser to make sure money and supplies will get there where they are most needed – both in Turkey -and- Syria. Since sending money from abroad to Syria is practically impossible because of the sanctions imposed against the Syrian regime, a team from Animal Save Turkey is travelling to the Syrian border this week to get into contact with rescue workers and bring food and supplies in the neighbouring country.

You can help rescue animals too! Please donate whatever you can miss.