Animal welfare organizations need help as Fiji braces for Cyclone Yasa

Stray cat, photo: Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash
Stray cat, photo: Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

Animal welfare organizations in Fiji urge people not to forget about their pets, stray and farm animals as the country is preparing to be hit by Cyclone Yasa on Friday. Dogs, cats, sheep, cows and other animals need to be protected from the extreme weather that’s approaching the island.

Tropical Cyclone Yasa, a category five storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, is expected to bring high-speed winds of more than 252 kilometers (157 miles) per hour and extreme rain across Fiji’s two largest islands.

“Keep your pet indoors where it is dry, ensure they have fresh water, food, warm bedding and shelter, perform head counts to make sure no animal is left behind,” animal welfare organization Animals Fiji said in a Facebook post.

SPCA Fiji Islands is looking for foster families when the cyclone hits: “Tropical Cyclones can create wind gusts and heavy rain, with the potential to cause damage and flooding in the shelter. In order to minimize the stress of shelter animals, we are requesting foster parents to come forward and help our fur babies.”

The government closed schools and urged people to stock up on emergency supplies on Wednesday. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama urged people to prepare: “I urge communities to use this time to trim tree branches, clean drains, board up homes, prepare emergency kits, and take other steps to keep your homes and community safe,”

Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office has said about 600,000 people lie directly in the cyclone’s projected path. It is not known how many animals will be affected.

In November, a dog made headlines when the Mexican navy rescued him after Hurricane Eta hit the country. The labrador was holding on to the balcony of a house with his body half in water. In his face and body language, you could see the despair from being hit by extreme weather.

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