MONKAYO, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/ 13 December)—In times of natural disasters, it is not just human beings who suffer a lot.
Animals do too.
Like humans, companion pets such as cats, dogs and farm animals were also rendered homeless when Typhoon Pablo devastated several towns in this province, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur and other provinces.
Aside from sharing spaces with their masters in cramped evacuation centers and makeshift tents, they also share the limited food aid.
Vilma Islaw, 48, of barangay Samuag here, told MindaNews that their house was destroyed by strong winds brought by the typhoon on December 4.
Islaw said they were not able to save most of their belongings, but they were able to save their eight-year old dog named Miong, an asong Pinoy or Aspin.
“We could not just leave Miong because he has been with us for so long, my two children love him as well as my granddaughter,” she said.
The family, like many others, has been depending on food aid a week after the storm, with Islaw noting, “We are sharing whatever food we have to our pet.”
Unlike Islaw who was able to take her dog to the evacuation center, 81-year old Portia Villocino almost lost her 10 dogs when flood hit their village.
Four of her dogs are two-month old puppies.
Villocino, a former village chief of Samuag, told MindaNews that she had feared that her dogs and their other farm animals may have drowned in the flood.
Along with her husband, the dogs were rescued at around 6 a.m. on December 4.
Since the water was deep and the current strong, they can do little but unleashed all the dogs and left them in an elevated part of their house.
“I thought they were drowned or carried away by the water. But I’m glad that they survived,” said Villocino, who returned to their house in the afternoon and found her pets alive.
But she lamented that the flood washed away around 20 of their chickens. “But the ducks survived, they were carried away somewhere else when the water was still raging. But they were able to return home the following day.”
Both Islaw and Villocino said they are sharing the food aid that they got to their pets.
As this developed, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) appealed to individuals and various groups extending assistance for typhoon victims to also donate food for the animals.
“We are asking local citizens, private groups and NGOs (non-government organizations) to provide feeds for the animals so that these affected communities would not have to slaughter their animals or have their animals go hungry,” appealed May Razon, a campaign specialist of PAWS.
Razon added that the typhoon victims themselves should not go hungry just because they need to share their food with the animals.
She also noted that some livestock animals are already starting to lose their body mass, hence, it will affect their prices when sold in the markets.
Razon likewise stressed the importance of farm animals like carabaos since they are helping the farmers till the farms.
PAWS, along with Jennifer Gardner of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, visited typhoon-affected towns in this province, in Davao Oriental and Veruela in Agusan del Sur on December 10 to 12 to assess the impact of the typhoon on companion animals and livestock.
In Barangay Sinobong in Veruela, Barangay Captain Adela Matuod disclosed that at least 200 dogs were washed away by the flashflood last week.
Matuod said the owners were not able to unleash their dogs when the flood came, as the villagers panicked to save themselves.
She said it has been a policy in their village to chain all the dogs to avoid dog bite incidents.
Razon advised the villagers to unleash their animals in times of disasters, such as flood, because they have greater chances of survival if unchained. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)