International equine charity World Horse Welfare has launched an urgent appeal to help horses and donkeys stranded in deep snow in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
The region has been battered since it was devastated by a series of earthquakes in January. In the days since then heavy snowfall has hit the mountainous region.
Power lines are down and roads are blocked. As a result owners are unable to reach their animals and some have been without food for several days in bitter, freezing conditions.
Hundreds of horses and donkeys are stranded in deep snow at remote locations without access to food or water. Some are out in the open, others are trapped inside barns.
Veterinarians are on standby to provide emergency care for horses and donkeys struggling in sub-zero conditions.
World Horse Welfare has teamed up with The Donkey Sanctuary to help the stricken equines, and already more than five tonnes of food has been delivered to the area. Another 13 tonnes is ready to be delivered by helicopters to move supplies to remote locations.
“We are taking action right now to reach these desperate animals and we need your help today,” World Horse Welfare said.
“With no sign of rising temperatures or improved conditions on the horizon, this is only the start of the rescue effort and with your support we will do everything we can to reach these poor stranded horses and donkeys.”
The Donkey Sanctuary has exceeded its target of £20,000 on JustGiving, while World Horse Welfare’s appeal for assistance continues. World Horse Welfare said if donations exceed the amount needed for relief efforts, it would use the generous donations for other emergencies to help horses in desperate need.