Preparing for The Next Katrina

AN IFAW ER animal rescue team member carries a pomeranian rescued from the balcony of a flooded house in New Orleans. (IFAW/Stewart Cook)

As the Washington Post notes in its recent story, “Weathering the Next Storm,” we must learn from last year’s events so we are better prepared for the next one.

Here are a few of the things IFAW is currently working on now to help make sure pets are not forgotten when the next disaster strikes:

  • Organizing and training NGOs in better animal search and rescue techniques as well as how to provide more efficient and safer emergency shelters.
  • IFAW has offered to be on standby for search and rescue efforts and
    emergency sheltering in Louisiana should disaster strike here again.
  • Purchased a new trailer with state-of-the-art communications
    equipment that will enable us to work more efficiently with local,
    state and federal agencies and other NGO's to get information out to
    the public quicker.
  • IFAW, along with several other major humane organizations, initiated collaborative spay and neuter efforts in the US gulf coast states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  We are also conducting a survey of pet owners in the area to determine where animal welfare education is most needed. The two year collaborative project includes voucher programs that use local vets, fixed high volume clinics servicing a 90 miles radius in each state and a mobile spay and neuter clinic servicing areas not provided for by the fixed clinics. It is estimated that over 50,000 surgeries can be conducted in the first two years, resulting in fewer animals euthanized by local humane shelters and animal control groups. So far the voucher program has sterilized over 800 animals and distributed 1,586 vouchers in Mississippi as well as many in some of the hardest-hit parishes of New Orleans.

What other activities would you like to see animal rescue organizations such as IFAW pursue to better help you prepare for the next Katrina?

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