Normally in July we’d be busy organising fund raising events, seeking sponsors, stocking the shop, writing receipts and thank you letters for donations, answering calls for help from hotel guests and other summer visitors and holding meetings to co-ordinate our activities. This year we’ve had little of that: few tourists, no social events, no meetings of the committee for four months and just one with our hard-working Apple employee supporters. We have, however been busy – or at least our younger members, unaffected by the worst of the restrictions, have been. Our vets have treated 116 animals in July at a cost of 21,000tl – fortunately no multiple broken limbs requiring extensive and expensive surgery, but we’ve had a few broken bones and a lot of mouth and eye problems. We’ve had a number of cats with a severe and potentially life-threatening skin problem which requires expensive medication for 28 days, hard enough with a house cat but very difficult with a street dweller! In addition, our volunteers have treated many cases of worms, fleas, ticks, scabies, eye infections and minor wounds themselves. We also sent 13 dogs and 24 cats to be neutered. Our feeding teams are still busy, especially in the more remote areas, ensuring that the animals, especially the dogs, have sufficient food and clean water. We distributed 108 bags of food. So far this year we’ve spent 75,000 tl on food and 132,000 tl on veterinary fees and medicines.
Life in Kuşadası is not easy for most people at the moment. Many people normally employed in tourism have no jobs or are working for fewer hours or for lower wages: some are working but haven’t been paid for months. People not directly involved with tourism are affected too; builders, electricians, painters, even supermarket staff and professionals such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians and lawyers have less work. Businesses which never see a tourist are suffering too because their customers have less to spend. The only people I can think of who aren’t affected are government and bank employees.
Even those with money are feeling the effects because of rampant inflation and, with the decline in value of the lira, the rising prices of imported goods, most are being forced to tighten their belts. Retired foreigners who live on their savings have had a huge cut in income as interest rates have tumbled from above 15% a year ago to below 5% now. Those who are lucky enough to have foreign income have benefitted from the fall in the value of the lira but this has not been enough to compensate for inflation.
As usual it is the poorest who are suffering the most and the poorest of the poor are the street animals and the pets of the poor. Our income and ability to help has declined with the loss of our shop and lack of fundraising events but the demands have increased.
A side effect of the lockdown is beginning to have a serious effect on some of our activities. Most of the drivers in our shelter and feeding teams and our standby driving team drive on EU or UK licences. To be able to continue driving here they have to leave the country every six months. Because of the lockdown and travel restrictions this has not been possible and we’re fast running out of drivers. If you have a valid licence and could spare a couple of hours a week until our teams can leave the country and get new passport stamps please contact me. If you would like to help us to help the homeless animals please visit http://animalrescuekusadasi.org/help/donations every lira helps. Thank you for caring.