IFAW rescues animals in flooded areas of Manila, Philippines

 
PhilippinesFlood This report was filed by Michael Booth, IFAW ER responder and communications officer currently in the Philippines.

It was a Tuesday morning when I first got word of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s immediate deployment to the Philippines. It is hard to assimilate the news when you are given only 2 or 3 hours to pack and get on the first plane out, but that is ‘business as usual’ for our disaster response team. Time to think about it? Well, there’s enough time to do that during the 22-hour journey from Boston to Manila.

The mission was very straight-forward. IFAW had been asked by a coalition of animal welfare groups and the local government to assist with animal rescues following the devastating Typhoon Ketsana (aka Ondoy) that flooded huge areas of Manila and surrounding districts. IFAW was to provide specific water rescue responders. The list of challenges included the presence of hazardous debris in the water, electric and phone cables, open man holes, toxic water, and the possibility of a shortage of boats.

Despite all this, a tired but enthusiastic team finally landed at the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 3:50am on Oct. 1st. One of the first things we noted was the weather. It was hot and humid. If it was like this at 4am, what would it be like at midday? No time to think, or even lie down for a nap in an air-condition room, no, we had a scheduled meeting with the Animal Welfare Coalition and the Dept. of Agriculture that would lay down the plan to move forward in rescue efforts of those animals in crisis and distress.

Dogpluckedfromthewater After one of many meetings, the IFAW team split in two to cover 2 of the hardest hit ‘subcities’, mud- covered Marikina and underwater Pasig. I headed for the water with Rich Crook who joined IFAW’s team from Utah where he works for Best Friends.

Rich and I were not alone, we teamed up that day with local group PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society) who we have a long history with. Their shelter in Manila was built with support from IFAW more than a decade ago and we met our friends from PAWS just last year while we conducted an Emergency Response Training in Indonesia. Well, it was time to put that training into good use and after careful coordination with officials from the Philippine Army, Navy and Military, we set off on military trucks as far as we could go and then by boat and on foot to the areas still chest-high in water, places where humans and animals alike had been left isolated.

It’s hard to explain just how surreal it is to walk over flooded streets and encounter makeshift boats and children swimming where cars and motorcycles usually roam. It may have been the jetlag mixed with the unbearable heat felt under the special dry suits we had on, but just being there and rescuing some of these dogs in certainly one of their greatest time of need is enough to get your blood boiling and the adrenaline pumping. We walked many hard-earned miles that first day until there was no more light to continue. On the way we helped many struggling animals by providing food, water and medication and took two of them back with us for extended care at the animal shelter.

Dog among rubbles in Philippines At night, we restored our energy and were out again today, rescuing stranded dogs on rooftops or mud-bogged islands of debris and continued our assessment of those animals in rural areas. But as good as I feel about the progress made so far, there are challenging moments ahead of us. As I write this Typhoon Parma is making landfall in the North, not too far away from where we are now in Manila. On its heels another potential Super-cyclone headed this way. They will surely bring more water, more floods and put many lives at risk but we will not stop. IFAW is able to respond anywhere around the world because you make it possible. To learn more about our work to save and protect animals, please visit our website.

Comments: 5

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

here is another video of how idiots gassing dogs the most cruel way i have seen. i wish i could gass them the way they did those dogs!
http://www.gmanews.tv/video/49594/stray-dogs-gass...
now tell me. these allies you call here in the philippines, have they done something to stop these cruelty? i think i know them better than you do. have you ever really visited their cages and seen how those caretakers of them handle the cats and dogs? yuk!!! paws my ass! one of their caretakers sell the donated dog and catfood and then gamble in the evenings! my god!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

i do not think you know much about abuse of animals here in the philippines. and you do not know as well what your so called allies here in the philippines have done anything about it. it would not matter too much if the animals died from nature disaster like floods. but how they die in the hands of these idiots like in the video http://www.gmanews.tv/video/11933/authorities-rou... is very alarming!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Disasters like this are precisely why I'm trying to turn my Cans 4 Pets service project into a nonprofit charity! (Even an 11-year-old boy with a really big heart for the furry ones can make a difference). I'll be walking 52 miles in December to prove it!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Thanks to all for your hard work. Please take care of yourselves,and say HI & give Hugs to my HEART teammates there, Brenda And Carl!Love to the doggies, come home safe!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

You do woonderful things to help animals!it's good to see happy endings:)

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