UPDATE: Disaster team response to Louisiana floods

Louisiana floods update

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) responded to historic flooding that struck the US state of Louisiana last month, leaving13 people dead, 11,000 people to seek refuge in shelters, and more than 100,000 people eventually registering for federal aid to help rebuild their damaged homes. At least 850 people have still not returned to their homes, according a local newspaper, and the cleanup is slow-going.

Ascension Parish was one of several areas heavily impacted by the torrential downpour of rain. Almost 11 years ago to the day, victims of Hurricane Katrina looked for their lost pets at the temporary shelter set up at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center located within Ascension Parish. Lamar Dixon once again opened its doors and barns to the animals affected by the tragic flooding, and we were honored to help now as we did 11 years ago.

On August 19, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry requested help from the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC), of which IFAW is a founding member. Disaster Response teams quickly mobilized and spent the last few weeks supporting the people and animals of Ascension Parish.

Our work was focused on recovery, making families whole again in the most challenging of situations.

Our team supported more than 300 dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, and guinea hens dropped off by owners who could no longer both care for themselves and their pets during this disaster. It was all the more rewarding to see the owners reunite with their pets once they could all return home as a family, or stay with friends or family all together.

There were many happy reunions (pictured in the above slide show):

  • Happy, a fluffy white miniature poodle, stayed at Lamar Dixon while his family regained their footing and went home after the waters started to recede.
  • A mother and daughter struggled to save their five-month-old kitten in the chaos. The shelter vets microchipped little Clara while she was there and soon she was reunited with her family once they were able to return to their home.
  • Major Hal Bridges, a National Guardsman deployed to the flooding response, adopted a puppy whose family found refuge at the temporary shelter for all 9 pups in the litter.
  • Additionally, two transports delivered un-owned dogs to both the Texas SPCA and the Humane Society of North Texas to clear shelter space for storm-affected dogs.

Many thanks to our partners in this endeavor, including NARSC members, the Humane Society of North Texas, the Texas SPCA, and GreaterGood.org.

--SW

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