Emergency fund helps volcano-hit horses in Guatemala

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It took several days for emergency relief teams to reach the "hot zone" in the aftermath of Guatemala's Fuego eruption earlier this month.
It took several days for emergency relief teams to reach the “hot zone” in the aftermath of Guatemala’s Fuego eruption earlier this month.

An emergency grant to help horses affected by Guatemala’s Fuego volcano eruptions earlier this month has been made by global animal welfare charity Brooke.

The grant follows an appeal in Britain and the US that raised more than £16,000 to help an estimated 312 horses, donkeys and mules who, along with their owners, have been worst affected by the eruptions on June 3 and 6.

Through its partner, ESAP, Brooke will provide care and support for animals located within the “hot zone”, the immediate area around the eruptions, for the next month. They will provide water, food and essential veterinary care to the equines, and also help other animals, including an estimated 536 cattle, 345 pigs and 15,208 poultry.

Brooke and ESAP will provide water, food and veterinary care to an estimated 312 horses, donkeys and mules affected by Guatemala’s Fuego volcano eruptions.
Brooke and ESAP will provide water, food and veterinary care to an estimated 312 horses, donkeys and mules affected by Guatemala’s Fuego volcano eruptions.

ESAP General Director Mario Sapon, who was evacuated from his home after the first eruptions, said initial efforts proved difficult after poor air quality and rain meant the team was unable to access the “hot zone” until June 9.

“Animals within the area were distressed, dehydrated and hungry, with many suffering from burns and wounds. This fund will ensure that the team can continue to provide relief and support to all affected by this disaster,” Sapon said.

One of the most populated countries in Latin America, Guatemala relies heavily on horses, donkeys and mules for the transporting of agricultural products such as corn, beans and wood, and for carrying water from wells to homes.

“These animals are the backbone of Guatemalan society, with the livelihoods of many people depending on them. ESAP has worked with Brooke in Guatemala since 2006, and it is vital that we provide support in the aftermath of this disaster. Thank you to Brooke’s supporters for helping us raise these funds,” Sapon said.

Guatemala’s CONRED national disaster management agency reported that by June 6, 12,089 people had been evacuated from the region, with 3,319 people dispersed in 13 shelters. Some 110 people were killed as a result of the eruptions, with a further 197 still missing.

Money raised through the appeal will not only pay for this emergency response, but also future ongoing work to improve the welfare of working equines in Guatemala. The relief work will take place between June and July 2018, and Brooke will continue to monitor the impacts of the volcano over the next six months.

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