Thursday 9 March 2023

Dogs help to find earthquake survivors, and animals rescued by charities

No one can fail to be moved by the scenes in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that hit      

Turkey and Syria last month. Sadly, the number of those who lost their lives has been high in 

both countries, and the the damage to buildings and infrastructure huge.

In the following days, countries around the world rallied to send resources and expertise 

in search and rescue to help find survivors.

(c) Twitter M_Ebrard  One of the Mexican dogs sent to hlp in Turkey

International search and rescue dog teams help find survivors

Mexico sent 16 experienced search and rescue dogs to Turkey. The country is itself prone 

to earthquakes and during one in 2017 the dogs saved many lives and won the hearts  of Mexicans.  

A yellow Lab called Frida was credited with saving 12 lives across Mexico, and other quake sites in 

Haiti, Guatemala and Ecuador.

Dog teams and handlers were also sent from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, 

Libya, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and the US. If a dog detects signs of life, debris often has to 

be moved away very carefully and quietly, due to the risk of collapse and danger to those searching.

The dogs are highly trained to sniff out survivors, and can differentiate between them 

and bodies, enabling the prioritisation of rescue of any people still alive in the rubble.

Amazing stories of survivors being rescued from collapsed buildings after many days have emerged, 

thanks to the help of the dedicated rescue teams and their dogs.

(c) Twitter M_Ebrard  Search dogs and thier handlers waiting to board a plane to Turkey from Mexico

Charities help rescue animals from the quake devastation

Not only people but animals have been rescued from collapsed buildings, sometimes weeks after the 

earthquake. Charities such as Ernesto's in Syria, the Humane Society International (HSI) are 

still rescuing both domestic pets separated from owners or sadly orphaned by the quake, and 

farm animals found wandering or injured.

(c) HSI/facebook. Humane Society International worker rescuing a dog from the devastation

Amazingly, a dog was found alive in the rubble 23 days after the earthquake in Turkey (pictured 

below), and a horse was also rescued, having survived after 21 days under rubble.

In Syria, the team from Ernesto's, an animal rescue charity, have been scouring the damaged towns

and villages for animals who need help. They either provide medication and food onsite or take 

abandoned or orphaned pets back to their sanctuary where they can offer them a safe and happy life,

along with many other rescued cats, dogs and farm animals.

Amidst the heart-breaking loss of life, it is heartening to see that animals are both helping to 

save lives, and themselves being rescued by caring people.


Members of the team from Ernesto's helping a young cat after the earthquake

Below, the dog found alive in Turkey 23 days after the earthquake (screenshot from film footage)