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  • Writer's pictureCompassionate Paws International

The fire that devastated Susan's Bay

A devastating fire ripped through the overcrowded settlement of Susan’s Bay in Freetown, Sierra Leone, last month.

Susan's Bay is one of the largest slums in Sierra Leone's where the majority of people living in the area do not have access to healthcare, schools, clean water and sanitation.

The disaster on March 24th left more than 7,000 people homeless. According to the government’s National Disaster Management Agency, 73% of residents are now forced to live outdoors.

Thankfully, no one died in the fire but more than 400 people were injured and countless animals reportedly perished in the blaze which engulfed the settlement within hours.

Animals are often the voiceless victims of tragedies and CPI has teamed up with Freetown City Council to provide emergency treatment and aid to animals impacted by the fire.

Our incredible friends at SPCA International helped raise essential funds to ensure CPI’s resident vet Dr Bangura and the team can give adequate support.

Since the fire, our dedicated and passionate team has worked daily at Susan’s Bay to collect data, identify and treat vulnerable and injured animals.

Within the first few weeks, almost 100 animals received treatment, including wound care, antibiotics, IV and parasite treatment.

CPI advocates the protection of all animals and no creature was left to fend for themselves. Volunteers discovered goats and pigs as well as cats and dogs in need of help.

Animal Welfare Volunteer, Ruby Hugh was one of the hardworking CPI team members collecting data at Susan’s Bay.

She said: “There were a few animals that needed multiple visits due to their injuries and without CPI they would have been left vulnerable to infections and more serious illnesses.

“There was a baby goat found one day. It did not respond to stimulation as it was clearly very dehydrated. The team spent a long time treating the goat such as feeding a bottle of water and then a drip. By the end, it was an impressive transformation. It had begun moving again and was grooming itself by the time we left.

“There are a lot of people living in empty tents. I've been told there is plenty of food but I don’t know how or when their homes and essential items will be replaced. They can’t stay like this during rainy season.

“People are incredibly resilient here and will make the best of what they have to hand. However, the attitudes to animals can be quite varied. Sometimes livestock animals receive better treatment than pets such as dogs and cats because they are more valuable.”

CPI co-founder, Sea Ramanat joined volunteers working at Susan’s Bay.

She said: “According to residents, many animals perished in the fire but we have been out daily treating animals such as dogs, cats and goats.

“For the most part people are very welcoming and happy we are there to help but it is natural to come across some resistance. As the days go by, people who initially refused help have begun to trust us more and bring their animals for us to treat.”

You can support us in continuing to treat emergency cases like these - find out more about how to become a donor.

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