Thousands of animals suffering after intense Costa Rica floods

02 August 2018

We rush to rescue 16,000 dogs, cows, horses, cats and more, who’ve been left weak and injured by the disaster in the Limón region

Working with officers from Costa Rica’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA), we’re providing emergency medical care and food for 16,187 of Limón’s most vulnerable animals.

Our aid will save thousands of animals' lives. It will reduce their suffering for at least another week and help improve their health as the floods subside.

However, we must ensure longer-term benefits for these animals so they recover properly.

Sergio Vásquez and Javier Zamora feeding animals affected by the floods

While we’re so grateful for SENASA’s tireless efforts working with us on the ground, we'd  hoped the organisation would release its existing emergency veterinary fund (EVF), so more animals could be saved.

Costa Rica's Civil Defence has stepped in with additional money, but this arrived two weeks into the disaster. In future, for animals' sake, we'd like to see funding made available as soon as it is needed.

Trapped

The flooding began in mid-July and has caused horrible distress for animals and their owners.

Local man Juan Carlos, aged 60, owns 22 cows, 100 chickens, three pigs, five dogs and a cat. He’s been unable to reach some of his cows who are trapped in the floodwater, and can tell they’re nervous.

Juan said: "For me, the animals that are most affected are the ones we have not been able to move. They are in the mud and there are still parts that are flooded, so they have to get through mud and water to eat the few pieces of grass that are growing."

'Held them and hugged them’

Juan Carlos’s neighbour, 75-year-old Santos Beteta, explained how he saved his dogs:

"The water level rose up to my waist and I put all my dogs on my bed. I held them and hugged them, but suddenly they were getting into the water. I took them out of the water, dried them with a t-shirt and placed them back on the bed."

Papito Lindo, one of Santos Beteta's dogs, eating food we provided

Juan and Santos were extremely grateful for the help we provided for their animals.

Juan said: "What you have brought here for the animals and us as their owners is a blessing. I say from the bottom of my heart: thank you!"

Santos with his one of his dogs, named Bobo

Animals rely on our help

Protecting people is a priority in disasters – but animals need support too. It’s vital for animals to receive immediate attention, so their suffering is minimised.

Many people in Costa Rica rely on their animals for companionship and livelihoods, so helping animals helps their owners too.

Like us on Facebook to see more updates about the animals we’re helping in Costa Rica.

"I took them out of the water, dried them with a t-shirt and placed them back on the bed."

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