Livestock hit hard by Indonesian tsunami

Thousands of animals including cattle, pigs, dogs and cats are struggling to survive after a tsunami hit Indonesia last Friday.

The problem is being highlighted by the World Animal Protection group which is heading to the area to help.

Naritsorn Pholperm, Disaster Response Manager at World Animal Protection, said many residents are dependent on animals for their livelihoods.

"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," he said.

The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the coast of Sulawesi, triggering an underwater landslide which set off a tsunami

An estimated 1.6 million people were affected and more than 1400 were killed. 

"Those devastating numbers do not include the countless animals and livestock who will have also perished or been left suffering," said Dr Pholperm.

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

Dr Pholperm said while the disaster response rightly prioritises 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," he said.