IVC Evidensia, one of Europe’s biggest veterinary care providers, last month announced that it is funding a team of its vets and VNs to fly to Australia to help with the ongoing bushfire crisis.
Entire towns have been engulfed in flames, and residents across several states have lost their homes. The heaviest structural damage occurred in New South Wales, the country’s most populated state, where 1,588 homes have been destroyed and over 650 damaged.
In total, more than 7.3 million hectares (17.9 million acres) have been burned across Australia’s six states – an area larger than the countries of Belgium and Denmark combined. The worst affected state is New South Wales, with more than 4.9 million hectares (12.1 million acres) burned.
In a statement, the company said: ‘All IVC Evidensia staff have been united in their grief towards the tragedy unfolding on the other side of the world. Many people have been enquiring as to how we can collectively respond, specifically to the animal crisis that has arisen from the ongoing fires.
‘We are currently working through a plan to send a team of vets and nurses over to Australia to help in whatever capacity is required – be that working on the front line or relieving vets and nurses in local practices so they can assist in the rescue operations.
‘With this in mind, we will be fully funding a team of vets and nurses to work in Australia for a minimum of four weeks at a time. It’s a significant undertaking for both the individuals who volunteer and for the company financially, but this is the right and proper response from Europe’s leading veterinary group.’
Group chief operating office Russell Trenter, who is helping coordinate the efforts, said: ‘Summer in Australia still has four months to run, with the fires likely to continue – so this will be an ongoing operation. We will work with our Australian contacts to ensure the most appropriate support over this period.
‘We are looking for vets and nurses from across the group to volunteer. They will need to speak English [for Evidensia personnel], and experience of wildlife, rehabilitation and Australian native fauna is preferred.’
For more information on the project and to donate, IVC Evidensia country has set up a charitable page that can be found here.