Animals Asia sends medical team to help with earthquake relief
15 May 2008
Staff from Animals Asia’s Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu are heading to Anxian in northern Sichuan Province to help with the earthquake relief effort.
Red Cross China accepted an offer of help made by Animals Asia after the foundation had heard the situation was desperate.
A team of 17, including half the moon bear sanctuary’s veterinary team and some bear workers (to do heavy lifting) left the rescue centre at around 4.30pm yesterday to start the four-hour drive to Anxian in the rescue centre’s coach.
Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson said: “We actually had to draw straws believe it or not. Everyone wanted to go to help despite the obvious dangers. Once there, we will take directions from the Red Cross and help in any way we can – both people and animals.”
Ms Robinson, who is also joining the group, said the coach was packed with basic medical supplies, such as needles, syringes, bandages, swabs, oral and topical antibiotics, iodine and a flush for washing wounds.
“We hope we can help with some basic first aid – bandaging and stitching cuts, cleaning wounds, making splints and maybe we can use the coach to ferry survivors to hospital. Basically, we’ll do whatever we can to help.
“Red Cross China has recruited eight Chinese doctors who are also heading to Anxian, so we may be working with them. We’re not sure – the situation is still unclear at the moment.”
Ms Robinson said the team would work around the clock for two days, returning to the rescue centre in Chengdu on Saturday night (Red Cross China is allowing volunteers to work only for two days straight). Depending on the situation at that time, Animals Asia may return with a fresh team and fresh supplies.
Animals Asia Foundation is a Hong Kong-headquartered charity that rescues Asiatic black bears (called moon bears because of the yellow crescents on their chests) from cruel bile farms in China and Vietnam. To date, it has rescued 247 bears in China and brought them to its rescue centre just outside of Chengdu. Both bears and staff were unharmed in the earthquake, but the centre may have to rebuild some buildings on site that sustained structural damage.