With historic flooding in Germany, food supply for animals will soon become a problem
At least sixteen people have died in the floods across Central Europe over the last week. Two rivers, the Elbe and the Danube have received so much rain that the water has flooded over their banks and forced dams, dikes and levees beyond capacity to the point of collapse.
Record water levels are being managed with millions of sandbags, evacuations, and emergency rescues. Germany is one of the main impacted areas and country military and national disaster teams are supporting the flood defense and human rescue. Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated across the region taking pets with them into the homes of family, friends and shelters.
On June 11, the first IFAW Disaster Response team, Alexa Kessler and Susanne Gebhardt, went into the field to coordinate assessment and delivery of food and supplies for animals with our local partner Tiertafel.
Alexa and Susanne are collaborating with the military that are accompanying them into flood zones and have had them involved in strategy meetings to help in planning for animal rescue and support.
Food will become a need soon as many food storages are destroyed and the water keeps rising.
Livestock, wildlife and farm animals are in the greatest need; feeding in place is a poor solution as travel is difficult and food supplies are increasingly unavailable.
The field work will continue this week and new contacts will be established to help provide emergency veterinary and food distribution services.
Shortly, I and my colleague Jennifer Gardner will lead an assessment and disaster management team to Germany. Recovery will be difficult amidst conditions where slowly moving or stagnate flood water has impacted entire villages. These flood waters are heavily contaminated and little if any natural food source will survive.
Disease outbreak is also a concern at this stage and is being closely monitored.
Stay tuned for more updates from the field as we continue our work.