With historic flooding in Germany, food supply may soon become a problem

I just had a very informative conversation with our team in Germany. I am proud of the whole IFAW Germany office for their rapid response to an absolutely awful situation.

Susanne in our Germany office holding a goat rescued during the recent floodingAt 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.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy