IFAW rescue and relief operations still underway in the Philippines
We’re on day 5 of operations here in the Philippines. Yesterday was an extremely busy and tiring day for us but very gratifying at the same time. Once again we headed out to Pasig City part of Metro-Manila, still flooded about chest-high deep in many areas.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare team arrived on scene at 7:00am ready to join a Philippines Armed Forces convoy heading to unexplored areas of the submerged city. This time we headed further South on Mercedes Street and into Greenwood Village. We traveled into the area on a big Army truck full of humanitarian and animal relief supplies.
Ten minutes into Greenwood, we stopped to offer bags of food to an elderly couple that had set up a makeshift camp by the side of the road, one of the only dry spots still available. They were in turn the owners of 4 goats and 2 dogs and were extremely grateful for the aid.
Word spread quickly and we were soon notified that there were 9 families living on top of metallic rooftops in a section that used to hold 15 families in a small and isolated shanty-town. The families owned 5 dogs and 4 cats and both humans and animals have been living in very precarious conditions since Typhoon Ketsana thundered through. After making our way out on an inflatable kayak, we carefully climbed on to the roof. Residents and their pets have been living literally on the edge. It was a balancing act to get around and distribute food for all of them. IFAW team-member and trained paramedic Brenda Stanton (member of the Washington State’s HEART group) attended to an apparent snake-bite on one of the villager’s arms. Fortunately the bite had come from a Philippine Reticulated Python, a non-venomous snake.
On this roof we also met Lucky, Balbon or “Furry”, and Hunter. These three dogs were so excited to see new faces and of course smell the food brought for them that they started to run around the maze of planks and metal roof. Hunter soon realized how dangerous this was by slipping and falling into the water below. Luckily the man helping us anchor our kayak was there in a few seconds to retrieve the scared dog.
More aid will come to those families that cling to life just a few feet from the water. Lucky, Balbon and Hunter will also be checked regularly by the city’s vet who has pledged his support to IFAW and local teams.
Before leaving Greenwood Village, the truck parked on a relatively low-flooded alley way and we all stepped out to deliver humanitarian and animal relief. The ‘human package’ included water bottles, sardine cans and bread, enough to satisfy the hunger but not for too long. These relief campaigns will surely continue for weeks, maybe months. Areas like Pasig have been cut-off from the rest of the city and depend on these convoys to survive. At the news of IFAW’s presence, people started to bring their pets with them. Dogs and cats were also given donated dry food and cans. It is always encouraging to see the positive response we get from people who are not used to seeing relief items for both humans and animals given side-by-side. IFAW has responded in many of the world’s worst disasters for years and we know that humans and animals are inextricably linked. The quicker the owners are able to get ‘back on their feet’ again, the easier it will be for them to care for their animals.
Tomorrow we are heading to Laguna. This city is about an hour and a half South of the capital city of Manila and experienced tremendous floods that have the water still neck-deep and higher. Our mission remains the same, locate, rescue and provide relief for animals impacted by this disaster. Many are stranded on rooftops and have not seen water or food for days. Thanks to your support, help is on the way. For more information on how you can help, visit our website.
Check out this new video on our animal rescues in the Philippines!