Thousands of animals urgently need help after deadly tsunami in Indonesia

Thousands of animals including cattle, pigs, dogs and cats are struggling to survive after the tsunami hit Indonesia last Friday. Many area residents are dependent on animals for their livelihoods.

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the coast of Sulawesi, triggering an underwater landslide which set off a tsunami. The waves built up height and speed silently, the warning sirens knocked out by a massive power failure in Palu. When the waves crashed swept through the region, an estimated 1.6 million people were affected and more than 1,400 were killed. These devastating numbers do not include the countless animals and livestock who will have also perished or been left suffering.

World Animal Protection is now on the ground heading to Palu City with a team of veterinarians to immediately assist the animals. This will include:

  • Conduct an immediate assessment by visiting shelters where people have fled with their animals  
  • Provide assistance to animals injured and meeting basic needs for survival 
  • Provide emergency vet kit items for animals in disaster zones, once safe to do so, which will include dressings and treatment for wounded animals, treatment of diarrhoea, pneumonia and other diseases 
  • Assess the wider and longer-term needs for the animals in partnership with the government. 

Naritsorn Pholperm, Disaster Response Manager at World Animal Protection says:  

“Seeing the impact of the tsunami here is devastating. Right now, our work is to help those animals in dire need; injured, without food or water and at high risk of disease. Our aim is to help those who are in shelters first and, once safe to do so, race to those who have been left behind. 

“Local communities who survived this catastrophe will only suffer more, if they have no animals or livestock to help them long after the aid has gone, for their livelihoods, transport and food.” 

While disaster response rightly prioritizes people’s immediate needs, the long-term recovery from disasters is inextricably linked with the well-being of their animals. Communities in this area heavily rely on agriculture to make ends meet and in this critical stage, saving animals affected by the tsunami will provide stability for their future.   


Notes to editors 

  • For more information please contact Elaine McNee on: 00 64 21 452 469 or
  • About 1 billion of the world’s poorest people rely on horses, livestock and other animals for food, transport and their livelihoods. Domestic animals play their part too, providing valued emotional support and companionship

World Animal Protection has been working actively with governments, communities and individuals in disaster management since 1964. We encourage governments to adopt disaster strategies that include animals. Out of 250 disaster responses over 54 years, we have provided aid to over 7 million animals. Explore our work here.