Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has started rescuing animals left abandoned by their owners in the areas affected by Taal Volcano eruption.
At press time, rescuers were in the evacuation zone surrounding the lake, giving food, water, and veterinary care to dogs, cats and other animals abandoned or taken to evacuation centers.
PETA Asia rescuers will continue caring for the animals until they can be reunited with their owners or placed in safe shelters, the group said in a statement.
The team also appealed to good samaritans near the area to donate cat and dog food, leashes, collars, face masks, medical supplies, and anything else that may be helpful.
Rescue teams were also trying to gain access to the area immediately surrounding Taal Volcano but are being blocked by authorities because of the dangerous nature of the situation, including the chance of an “explosive eruption,” in which magma is spewed into the sky.
Some had managed to bring bigger animals like cows, carabaos and horses across the lake on their boats, but at least one photograph showed animal carcasses washing ashore in Batangas.
Authorities believe all the animals in the area immediately surrounding the volcano likely died in the disaster.
Rescuers have obtained a telescope to look for survivors and will continue trying to gain access to Taal Volcano in order to rescue any horses or other animals trapped there.
“People living outside the Philippines can help by donating to the animal relief effort, which will likely go on for several more days or weeks,” the group said in a statement.
The dust particles emitted by the eruption of Taal Volcano has brought “environmental degradation” which destroys plants and wildlife and could even change the entire topography of Batangas province and the volcano itself, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
Plants and wildlife in Taal island are already dead following the release of ash and lava, the council said.
Some 18,000 residents from the towns of Laurel, Balete, Talisay, San Nicolas, Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Mataas na Kahoy, Lemery and the cities of Tanauan and Lipa in Batangas have evacuated to government shelters leaving those areas—and their animals—in ghost towns, NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal said.
Wildlife and other vegetation even outside of Taal’s 14-kilometer danger zone have been severely affected by the tons of toxic materials spewed by Sunday’s explosive eruption. Trees were not spared as they were engulfed by the tons of volcanic particles released by the blast.
“We were informed during aerial inspection that both flora and fauna in the volcano are dead already so there would be no reason for our rescuers to return,” Timbal said, citing the emergency evacuation of residents followed by animals at the early stage of the eruption.
“The residents were the first ones to be evacuated, and the animals were next in line. But when rescuers were supposed to return, the escalation prevented them from doing so,” he told ANC’s Early Edition.
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