Rescuers are still finding dogs and cats alive more than three weeks after the Turkey earthquake
More than 1,500 animals have received veterinary care in Antakya, following the fatal Turkey earthquake.
While tens of thousands of animals will have died during the disaster, many have defied the odds, surviving with little or no access to food or water.
In fact, Humane Society International (HSI) rescuers are still finding dogs and cats alive more than three weeks after the first tremor.
Most of the animals being rescued and brought to the clinics have suffered cuts, bruises, and infected wounds – displaying clear signs of dehydration, starvation and shock.
“The animals we’re finding still alive are often in abandoned and damaged apartments, where they’ve been all alone throughout this disaster,” said HSI’s Kelly Donithan.
“I can only imagine how frightening it must have been for them enduring four earthquakes over the past couple of weeks, and also experiencing the deafening drone of helicopters overhead.
“When I think of how nervous my own animals are at home when there are loud bangs like fireworks, it’s heart breaking to think how traumatized these animals must have been.
“Now they’re getting all the love and care they need to heal, but every day we’re finding more amidst the rubble and wreckage.”
Humane Society International team takes care of the puppies of a dog that came out of the wreckage at the Haytap Clinic, in Hatay's Antakya district, on February 19, 2023. Image credit: Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI
Reunited at last
However, local veterinarians and HSI workers have helped nurse hundreds of animals back to good health, and have even been able to reunite some of them with their owners.
Rumi, a woman who was injured during the earthquake and consequently evacuated to Istanbul posted a plea on Facebook to find her missing cat Layla.
HSI asked Rumi for a voice recording of her calling for her pet, and eventually, Layla emerged and was rescued.
Rumi travelled back from Istanbul – with both her legs in casts – to be reunited with Leyla.
In a heartwarming video, HSI captured the very moment Rumi and Layla were brought back together.
‘Stories of hope’
“In the midst of earthquake aftershocks, loss and devastation, there are stories of hope,” Donithan added.
“We have seen the love, comfort and joy first-hand as we reunite families with their beloved animals here in Türkiye…
“Meeting earthquake survivor Rumi and being able to reunite her with her beloved cat Leyla, brought me and the team to tears. Her love for her cat was so obvious and brought her so much joy at a time when she’d been through so much pain.”
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Featured image credit: Emrah Gurel/AP Images for HSI