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Our Fight To Stay Open
Nepal is currently over one month into a strict lockdown that sees all non-essential vehicles banned and almost all movement stopped. In the first few days our team faced huge difficulties getting to work and were threatened numerous times by police officers. Since that time we’ve obtained permission to travel around safely – all of our vets and animal carers are coming to work and both of our ambulances are in use.
Everyday, we are continuing to rescue sick and injured animals. We are still, as far as I know, the only organisation continuing to do this work. Even veterinary clinics have largely shut down. The vets that are open will not take certain cases that they consider more difficult to deal with. This means that demand for our services is higher than ever. More people are reporting cases to us, and they are coming from all over the city — and beyond. We are in a race against time to reach them before it is too late.
On top of the huge demands for rescue and treatment, a second crisis is emerging…
Street Dog Feeding Crisis
It has been over a month since any restaurants and food stalls were last open, and these were a very important source of food for street animals of all kind, dogs, cows, monkeys and cats. We’re now working on a desperate drive to keep providing food to these animals. Some, who live in temple areas, have literally been ‘locked in’ unable to leave and with little hope of help reaching them. We are buying masses of meat and rice and delivering them daily to the most vulnerable dogs — mothers with puppies, the malnourished and the weak.
These are big challenges, but ones that we are facing head on. We are lucky in the fact that there are quite a few volunteer groups in different parts of Kathmandu helping out and doing some great work. At the same time however with the lockdown set to continue indefinitely it is something that we can’t become complacent about. As I write this, half of our team have taken to the streets to continue feeding animals in one area, while the other half are conducting street treatments of injured dogs. There are up to 80,000 dogs roaming the streets of Kathmandu and our food bill is now in excess of $1000, while our medicine alone regularly costs $1500-2000 per month.
What we’ve achieved since the lockdown began (as of 21st April):
- All 13 of our staff are actively working to help animals
- Both of our two animal ambulances are in use daily
- We’ve performed 29 emergency rescues of dogs and cats
- Responded to two suspected rabies cases
- Numerous street treatments for minor wounds and skin disease
- Feeding literally thousands of street dogs
Of course, things aren’t all good. Movement is still heavily restricted and police check points are all around the city. We as an organisation have our own limitations too. Sourcing facemasks (essential for surgery) has become impossible and we have come to rely on donations from members of the community. Expenses are high and we still lack our precious visitors and volunteers from oversees who provide valuable expertise and manpower. At the same time, we feel hope. Recently (the 13th of April) was the first day of the Nepali new year, and we as well as everyone here are taking this as a sign of hope for a new start. Difficulties exist but as an organisation we plan to continue regardless of how long the lockdown lasts for.
Our work is only possible with your help. Although it is our team going out into the field, we are only able to do this because of your support. The generosity of people like yourself is the foundation on which KAT Centre has been built – and it is what we depend upon to keep working on into the future.
Since the lockdown began the borders to Nepal have been entirely closed and we are desperately missing our international visitors and volunteers, which has also had a damaging effect on our funds. Supplies such as food, gas and medicine have risen in price, and at the same time, exchange rates have worsened which further squeezes our limited budget.
Now we are forced to humbly appeal to you for the support that we as an organisation need to get through this and survive on into the future.
For those of you who have already responded to our appeal, we sincerely thank you once again. It is a very difficult time for our charity, but with your help we are able to move forward with confidence. Thank you!