November 6, 2011
HSI Lends a Hand During Thailand Floods
As the worst floods in 50 years continue to wreak havoc in Thailand, HSI's local partner, the Soi Dog Foundation, contacted us with a plea for help. Quickly, we arranged for emergency funding to buy much-needed supplies and sent in a disaster response team led by Rahul Sehgal, director of HSI India.
On Saturday, November 5, Rahul and two HSI veterinarians arrived in Bangkok armed with nets, trauma kits and an inflatable raft in preparation for catching and treating stranded or injured animals. There, they met with representatives of the Soi Dog Foundation and the World Society for the Protection of Animals to discuss coordination of a disaster assessment and involvement in a rescue operation already underway.
The HSI team quickly recognized the magnitude of the flooding: Bangkok is known for its traffic deadlock, and with much of the city now also underwater, travel is next to impossible.
Despite the terrible circumstances, many ordinary citizens have already been doing what they can to help animals in trouble. One of them, Pawena Werathumjumrus, and her friend, Lex De Groot, told us that they had rescued some 100 dogs in two weeks, either recovering companions left behind by fleeing homeowners, or removing survivors from makeshift floats to dry land. Dog food, a special bowl and other paraphernalia made it obvious how beloved one animal was to a grateful owner when Pawena and the HSI team visited a half-submerged house to reunite him with his person.
“I've always helped animals, from taking sick dogs to the vet to feeding hungry strays,” said Pawena, on the way back to Bangkok after a long day of recovering pets and distributing food and medicine, “but this is the first time that I have done something so intensely, for so long.”
The HSI team will use the information gleaned from their initial assessment to effectively deploy further aid in the coming days, our first task being to create a disaster preparedness plan for an animal shelter currently threatened by floodwaters. There are multiple temporary shelters set up outside the city, and the flood victims they house are at risk of illness or disease after their experience. HSI will try to help guide the local shelters in proper care of the rescued animals during and post-disaster. Give now to help.