We’ve received several inquiries recently from our members asking how they can help in the wake of last week’s severe weather and tornadoes. Our hearts go out to those impacted by the severe weather. According to the National Weather Service the tornado outbreak included at least 42 tornadoes across 10 states affecting millions of people.
The AVMA and AVMF have reached out to the local Veterinary Medical Associations in several of the worst-hit states to offer our assistance—for now we are on standby awaiting any specific requests.
In the meantime, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has established AVMF individual reimbursement and relief awards (grant programs) to assist veterinarians in the wake of a disaster. The Veterinary Practice Relief program and the Disaster Veterinary Animal Care Reimbursement program were created in 2005 in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster to ensure veterinary care to the animal victims of a disaster. Veterinarians affected directly by disaster can apply for up to $2,000 in assistance. Those who incur costs by offering veterinary medical services to the animal victims of disaster can apply for up to $5,000 in assistance. Anyone interested in donating to these programs can contribute at the AVMF website.
We are also working with our animal emergency response partners who make up the US-based National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC). The NARSC was established in 2006 as an outgrowth of the unprecedented U.S. disaster season of 2005, which included Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of that season, the major national animal protection organizations in the U.S. developed a working coalition to facilitate responses to large-scale incidents and address ongoing concerns. This coalition represents more than 15 million animal care and control professionals, volunteers and pet owners.
NARSC members have been communicating daily to share information related to their individual response efforts to allow for coordination of activities. Currently most NARSC members are on standby waiting to determine how best to respond to any specific requests from local officials.