Rescue Mission in Chaitén

I’m back in Santiago, planning to join a campaign aimed at rescuing dogs from the south of Chile, in a disaster area called Chaitén.

Volcán Chaitén erupted on May 2, 2008 and continued erupting for a month, decimating thousands of livestock and spewing ash as far as Buenos Aires in Argentina. Four thousand inhabitants were hastily evacuated and most were forced to leave their pets behind. With the volcano still active, the Chilean government has chosen to relocate the city rather than rebuild it.
p04-88765Almost one year after the initial eruption, an undetermined number of cats and roughly eighty dogs continue to struggle for survival in and around the remains of what is now largely a ghost town under a cover of ash. The dogs have subsisted by hunting the few cows, sheep and horses that remain, and on handouts from people – some volunteers belonging to activist groups and some residents who have been allowed back into the heavily restricted area have been feeding the survivors intermittently.

Some dogs were in fact evacuated after public outcry, but currently the rescue of the eighty that remain hinges on whether the group called CEFU (Coalición por el control ético de la Fauna Urbana) can raise the money needed to perform a successful evacuation. The wheels have been set in motion however, and I plan to document the campaign when it happens.


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