Rescuers 'Searching and Caring for Surviving Animals' in Wreckage After Deadly Beirut Explosion
A spokesperson from the mission said, "For many people, pets are like family members"
A team of rescuers is working to save the animals still caught in the wreckage of the deadly explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, earlier this month.
On Aug. 4, at least 220 people were killed and 5,000 injured in the incident, according to BBC News. Lebanese officials believe the explosion was caused by thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse located in Beirut's port that somehow ignited. Many who were in the vicinity of the blast are still missing.
According to a press release, FOUR PAWS teams — consisting of handlers and veterinarians — are helping on-site over the next few weeks, searching for buried animals to provide them with medical treatment, food and, if possible, reunification with owners. FOUR PAWS will seek out safe new homes for the cats and dogs who cannot be reunited with their owners,
Dr. Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and leader of the Beirut mission, said in a statement that the rescue groups had to navigate various hurdles to pull off the endeavor, including complications caused by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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"The unstable political and economic situation in Lebanon as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, are challenging for us. But for many people, pets are like family members," said Khalil. "That is why we will be searching and caring for surviving animals around the clock in the coming weeks."
"We will also use the rescue operations to vaccinate stray animals in the area against rabies — just another source of risk that we will take care of with preventative methods," Khalil added.
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Back in December, FOUR PAWS conducted an emergency mission together along with Animals Lebanon to help wild animals kept in two zoos in the south of Lebanon.
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