Over 250,000 Animals Face Death In Aftermath of Hurricane Floyd

IFAW Assists Animal Relief Efforts In Flood-Hit North Carolina

Hurricane Floyd has left a destructive trail of disaster and death in the hard-hit areas of eastern North Carolina, flooding thousands of acres and threatening the lives of over a quarter million livestock, companion animals and wildlife. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (http://www.ifaw.org)--the largest animal welfare organization in the world--has joined with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in a cooperative relief effort to assist state and local government agencies with the overwhelming number of necessary animal related rescue and relief operations.

"This is a devastating tragedy for the people of North Carolina," said IFAW Team Leader Shirley Minshew. "Officials expected over 250,000 dead animals by mid-week. It is our goal to keep that number from climbing higher," she said.

Since Sunday, IFAW has been carrying out aerial surveys of the areas around Kinston, using its Bell Ranger helicopter piloted by veteran relief pilot Telford Allen, and carrying IFAW sponsored University of California (Davis) veterinarians John Madigan and Jackie Whitamore. Fixed with pontoons, the helicopter is capable of landing on the dangerous flood water. On Monday, the team identified a drowning horse near the town of Grafton, which they successfully airlifted out, with the cooperation of a National Guard cargo capacity helicopter. Land-based relief work continued on Tuesday, and Wednesday two more horses and 15 head of cattle were found neck deep in water in the Tarboro area and plans are being made to airlift them to safety.

IFAW/HSUS team members stationed at the government-run Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Raleigh have also been key in handling emergency requests from individuals in the local communities. One farmer called in to check on the status of 10,000 hogs that he had released as the flood waters rose to dangerous levels. Another farmer sought information on 400 head of cattle, which he could not reach due to the floods. Still yet another farmer called to confirm the death of 26,000 of his chickens and 6,000 of his hogs, while he sought information on his other hog houses that he could not reach. With flood water levels not set to peak until the weekend due to heavy rains today, calls continue to pour in by the minute.

The IFAW/HSUS team has used its network of mobile field teams, base coordinators, and resource officers to forward emergency request needs to trained field personnel, and to obtain the necessary emergency supplies such as food, clean water and shelter for the animals.

The team has also assisted in setting up and equipping a temporary livestock and companion animal shelter at Carolina State University, which will receive full volunteer veterinary support from the university's veterinary department.

IFAW anticipates carrying on its emergency relief efforts for at least the next two weeks, and gradually transferring the responsibility of these activities to the local communities.

Specifid Equid Rescues:

September 19, 1999
The day was spent frantically trying to gather resources to remove two yearlings—one horse and one mule—from chest-deep water. The team tried to lead the yearlings from the water, but they repeatedly turned around and headed back to deeper water. Three obstacles hindered this rescue and others further—finding an Anderson Sling, a helicopter and an experienced airlift team to lift the animals from the water. Eventually we received a sling from the American Humane Association and an outstanding airlift team from California was brought in. The horse and mule were saved before the team arrived from California.

September 20, 1999
Dr. John Madigan and the three other team members from California, assisted by IFAW, made two difficult rescues today. First was a horse trapped in a barbed wire corral in deep water. The sling had to be put on under water and Dr. Madigan called it his most challenging rescue yet.

About the Author

Tim Brockhoff

Tim Brockhoff was Staff Writer of The Horse:Your Guide to Equine Health Care from 1995 to 1999. His degree is in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky, and his equine experience is with American Saddlebreds.

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