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Syrian veterinarians are working on the front lines to save pets and farm animals who lost their humans during the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

The Washington Post reported that an animal sanctuary in rebel-held Syria recently rescued a cat that was trapped inside its human’s shop for three days. They also rescued a chicken that was stuck in the middle of a flooding river and a dog that was profusely bleeding from its leg. Unfortunately, they were not able to save them all.

“Just like humans, we had to do triage,” said Mohamad Youssef, one of two veterinarians with Ernesto’s Sanctuary for Cats in Syria. “But we saved a lot, and we are still searching.”

Workers with Ernesto’s were pulling out dogs, cats, goats, and chickens from under the rubble in the aftermath of the earthquake. Ernesto’s founder, Alessandra Abidin said that her group was one of the only ones in northwest Syria focused on finding animals. So far, the team has brought around 35 animals to their sanctuary in Idlib city and has treated dozens in the region. Sometimes the team drives 20 to 30 miles to find farm animals that those affected by floods.

“Humans cannot exist without dogs, without cats, without goats, without chickens,” Youssef said in Arabic. “They are part of our families, like a mom or a dad. They give us food, they give us happiness, they give us comfort. We would not be without them.”

Ernesto’s Sanctuary needs more people and tools to find animals as well as more food and vets to keep them alive. Electricity at the clinics for animals cuts out frequently and they are doing what they can to stitch wounds and offer food. The team searches for nine or 10 hours a day until it gets dark and they have to go home.

“We cried for the animals that died,” he said. “But we cry for the animals that are still out there. We want to find their humans, too. But we don’t have enough people or time to help everyone. We want to help, but we also need help.”

To learn more about Ernesto’s Sanctuary and to Donate to their efforts, check out their website.

How to Help Turkey and Syria

Even before the crisis, over 15 million people in Syria were in need of humanitarian assistance according to The International Rescue Committee (IRC). Funding is urgently needed to help people who have been affected by the earthquakes. The IRC is working to provide emergency services to families in Turkey and Syria and refugee families in countries around the world. For a limited time, monthly donations will be matched as the organization works to Support communities during this crisis. They currently have over 1,000 staff inside Syria working tirelessly to provide lifesaving Support and they will be scaling up their response in Turkey as well.

Your donation will go to providing cash and essential items, such as household kits, dignity kits for women and girls, and hygiene supplies including towels and blankets. Donations will also Support essential health services in affected areas and set up safe spaces for women and children affected by the crisis. Click here to learn more about donating.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is also collecting funds for its disaster response emergency fund. This will Support “immediate cash assistance” in affected areas.

Remember when donating that you should never provide personal details, bank account information, or other information without verifying the organization or individual collecting donations.

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