October 4, 2019 — After a brief break from their first deployment to the Bahamas, American Humane’s trained rescue staff and volunteers returned this week to help grapple with the continuing need, working with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and seasoned animal relief volunteers to aid animals in need, support shelter and feeding operations, and conduct other essential tasks.
In September, the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to strike the Bahamas, and the worst natural disaster in the country’s history, swept through the island chain with winds of 185 mph, splintering homes, buildings, boat, trees, and lives. On Great Abaco Island, Hurricane Dorian destroyed or swept almost everything in its path out to sea. All told, the storm caused $7 billion in damage and left more than 70,000 people and tens of thousands of animals homeless.
For the lost, frightened, injured, and starving animals of the Bahamas, a month has passed. But the crisis has not.
In the wake of the disaster, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, which has been saving animals in major disasters for more than 100 years, immediately deployed its rescue team with an invitation from IFAW, conducting search-and-rescue operations, setting up and running shelters, transporting tons of emergency food, and helping airlift animals to Nassau Island to help reunite pets with their families. The scenes that unfolded were poignant: One puppy they discovered was thin, anemic and barely clinging to life when she was rescued and rushed her to the MASH unit where she received immediate veterinary care and comfort. Another victim left behind, an elderly dog, who had been found barely moving on an old mattress in front of where her home used to stand, took her first steps toward one of the American Humane rescuers, and laid her head in her hands, knowing she was finally safe.
During its initial mobilization, the American Humane Rescue team found and provided critical aid to emaciated, dehydrated, injured, and starving dogs, cats, ducks, goats, and pigs.
“This is by far one of the most intense and traumatic disasters we have ever been involved with,” said American Humane President and CEO Robin Ganzert, PhD. “With increasingly frequent and increasingly destructive natural disasters, so many animals are in crisis. We are grateful to all the generous supporters who make it possible for our rescue team to have lifesaving equipment and supplies at the ready whenever disasters strike.”
About American Humane and the American Humane Rescue program
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. The American Humane Rescue program has been involved in virtually every major relief effort during the past 100 years, starting in World War I when we rescued and cared for 68,000 war horses wounded each month on the battlefields of Europe, the Great Ohio Flood of 1937, Pearl Harbor, the terror attacks on 9/11, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Hurricanes Andrew, Camille, Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Maria, Irma, Matthew and Florence, the tornadoes in Joplin and Oklahoma, the Louisiana, West Virginia and Oklahoma floods, and the California wildfires.
To support American Humane’s lifesaving efforts, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org.
About the International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW):
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.