May 20, 2022
SrI Lanka is suffering from an economic crisis which has resulted in a lack of Forex - this is the foreign exchange, which in our case is US dollars. This means the country does not have the money to pay for and import many important items - including food, fuel and medicines.
This means that the Sri Lanka rupee has devalued 60% since March and at the same time the prices of goods and food have increased sharply. This has created severe shortages.
The country does not have enough fuel to run power plants, and is struggling to afford more, so power cuts of anywhere from 3 to 15 hours are common place each day. There are also huge shortages of domestic fuel (petrol and diesel) and cooking gas. This is forcing many people, including our team, to have to regularly queue for upwards of 6 hours to refill vehicles.
On Friday 6th May, a state of emergency was announced by the President, giving extra powers to the armed forces. And on Monday 9th May, clashes occured between peaceful protestors and pro-government supporters which resulted in the use of tear gas and water canons. The country was placed under a nationwide curfew. The Prime Minister has now resigned, but the unrest continues.
The impact of this crisis is touching every single human and animal in Sri Lanka. It is having a very real and far reaching effect on the way that Dogstar works.
For the communities we work in, people are struggling to feed their families, let alone their pets or the animals that live near their homes. The Meals on Three Wheels feeding programme has expanded to feed any animal on the streets of Negombo that needs it, including handing out food for people to take home to their pets.
But to get the tuk-tuk’s out on the streets, we need fuel. Recently, our incredible staff members queued for a brutal 9 hours in Sri Lankan heat to secure the fuel needed to get animals food. Micro-managing how much fuel every vehicle has and sourcing fuel is an all consuming and somewhat soul destroying task. And it is likely these problems will get much worse before they get better.
The cost of food and medicines has increased to unprecedented levels - if we can even find any due to shortages. We’re doing our best to be adaptable, and making small changes to the meals offered to the dogs to make use of cheaper cuts of meat that are more readily available.
Curfews restrict our ability to run our spay/neuter services, but we are thankful for the local police force who understand how important it is to feed the local animals. When the fuel and political situation allows, we try and get our mobile spay/neuter truck up and running to keep population and suffering under control.
And ultimately, this crisis is incredibly emotionally and physically taxing on Dogstar’s staff. Isolating curfews, endless queues and witnessing so much suffering is incredibly fatiguing. We are doing everything we can to support our incredible, passionate and resilient staff through this crisis. Your lovely words have made all the difference in our darkest moments.
When you can’t feed your family, you will struggle to feed your pets and the dogs that live in your community. Curfews and struggling businesses will further cut off supplies of food to local animals. It is likely, more dogs are going to find themselves on the streets and struggling as a result of this crisis.
And as we well know, animals on the street can reproduce quickly, spread endemic diseases like rabies and experience painful illnesses. Dogstar will need to be there for these animals, not only to feed them, but to vaccinate, spay/neuter and stop the spread of preventable diseases that could affect people too.
It has never been more important to be a Dogstar.
These are some of Sri Lanka’s hardest days. I know that times are tough for you too - but if you have anything to spare, I promise it will make a huge difference.
£5 will feed 10 street dogs. £10 will buy medication to give mangey dog their fur back. £25 will feed a dog for six whole weeks.