As part of The Humane Society of Canada's Disaster Relief, Rescue and Recovery Program, we monitor the Canadian Hurricane Centre, NASA and the US National Weather Service for up to date information on now Post-tropical storm Harvey and developing Hurricane Irma.

 

"Disaster relief, rescue and recovery for animals who are often the forgotten victims of disasters begins with planning and preparedness," says HSC Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan, who has experience working in disaster and war zones around the world and is currently in Florida working to protect animals. "We advocate disaster relief planning and preparedness to reduce the risk of injury and loss to animals," says O'Sullivan. 

As of 3.00 pm on Wednesday, September 6th, Irma has made landfall in the Caribbean. Click to see a storm trajectory for Irma. We have contacted shelters and animal protection organizations in the Caribbean in order to offer our help and assistance.

Less than a week after Hurricane Harvey devastated communities in its path, there is good news. Thousands of pets have been rescued, treated and are being cared for in temporary shelters and hundreds of pets have been reunited with their families. Thousands more animals who are too frightened to allow rescue teams to approach them are still receiving field care through feed and water stations.

Based upon our experience and that of many others, we know that prevention saves lives. Nowhere is this more evident that by comparing the actions of government officials in Texas and Florida. In the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in recent history, a multimillion dollar rescue was mounted after Hurricane Harvey devastated communities in its path. In the wake of Harvey, tens of thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals, birds, horses and farm animals were and are still at risk, and continue to suffer from a wide range of physical and psychological trauma. The Humane Society of Canada has created the following to help ensure that you and your animal companions are prepared and cared for in the event of any disaster.

Animal First Aid Kit

When your animal is hurt, time is critical. In order to give people a way of providing their animals with immediate help to try and relieve their pain and injury, The Humane Society of Canada has created this special Animal First Aid Kit.

This kit and first aid manual have been reviewed by a group of veterinarians and animal care experts with a broad range of experience in Canada, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East. Their collective expertise has helped save the lives of thousands of animals. The contents of this kit have also been field tested in disaster and war zones around the world. The Humane Society of Canada advises that in every single case when your animal is sick or injured that you immediately contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic. Keep your animal healthy by going to your veterinarian for regular health checkups and by keeping your animal’s vaccinations against disease up to date. Have your pet spayed or neutered and do your part to help stop pet overpopulation. Each kit contains: tweezers, magnifying glass, rescue sheet (can also be used to restrain cats or small animals), latex gloves, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial topical ointment, instant cold pack, adhesive tape, sterile gauze pads [3], roll of sterile gauze, insect sting stop pads [8], antiseptic towlettes [6], antimicrobial wipes [3], elastic cling bandage (can also be used to make an emergency muzzle), Q tip cotton swabs [12], antiseptic solution, eyewash solution, medium size safety pins [4], scissors, first aid booklet.

Pet Recovery Team 

An exciting program which builds on the success of our current efforts to help reunite lost pets with their families through a special network which includes giving each person’s pet a unique id tag bearing the person’s pet’s name and contact numbers. On the reverse side of the tag is a unique serial number keyed to the pet’s information, complete with The Humane Society of Canada’s toll free number which works from anywhere in North America. If a person’s pet is lost outside Canada or the United States, we will accept a collect call from anywhere in the world.

Disaster Relief Decals/Checklist

Raging forest fires in British Columbia, surging floodwaters in Manitoba, killing ice in Quebec, destructive tornadoes in Ontario, powerful wind and rains in the Maritimes from a near miss with a hurricane. Are you ready to help your pet and other animals, who are often the forgotten victims of disasters?

 We believe the best answer is to plan ahead, to be prepared to handle emergency situations when and where they arise. All of us can do our part, beginning at home with our own animals

This package contains a Disaster Relief Checklist to let you plan ahead for your pet’s needs before disaster strikes. Also enclosed are two Emergency Alert Decals for your front and back doors or windows. This alerts emergency rescue personnel that there are animals inside and that they need help in the event that you are ill or injured and unable to help them yourself. Protect the four legged members of your family today, by placing your order right now.

To make a life changing donation to help animals and aid in disaster relief efforts.

In their latest update NOAA/National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center called for a 60% chance of an above normal 2017 Atlantic hurricane season which lasts for another twelve weeks. Hurricane season is officially designated between 1st June and runs until 30th November. The updated outlook calls for the remainder of the season to be extremely active, and the agency expects an additional 14 – 19 named storms, with 5–9 becoming hurricanes, and 2-5 of these becoming major hurricanes.

For the third year in a row storm activity during this time of year began early, with the formation of Tropical Storm Arlene on April 19. In mid-June Tropical Storm Cindy struck the state of Louisiana coast and in late-August Hurricane Harvey became the first major destructive hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. Hurricane Harvey placed the lives of millions of people and animals at risk and caused extensive environmental destruction. Damage estimates for the recent hurricanes already exceeds $ CAD 230 billion ($USD 190 billion).

The recovery and rebuilding phases now involve providing foster homes, temporary shelter, reuniting lost pets with their families, finding new homes for animals that couldn’t be reunited with their families, and rebuilding shelters and wildlife centres. There are also plans for an aftermath assessment to analyze the effectiveness of the disaster relief efforts, and to encourage disaster preparedness through planning, education and legislation.

While the news media focused on the dramatic and daring crisis intervention and rescues, absent from much of the public debate, was the role of global warming in the creation and ferocity of hurricanes. The Humane Society of Canada along with many others believes that more careful environmental planning is needed to reduce to whatever degree is humanly possible one of the primary driving factors which increase the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, namely global warming.

Before he left office, US President Obama signalled a willingness to sign international agreements pledging a commitment on the part of the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Given that the United States was responsible for producing an estimated 24% of all green house gases, it is regrettable that as one of his first acts in office, US President Trump reversed this commitment to his own people and the international community.

Canada, the United States and all nations of the world need to redouble our local, regional and international efforts to address the serious environmental challenges, and their inescapable consequences, that place all of us in unnecessary peril.

Scientific experts agree that over the past three decades, while the number of hurricanes each year has remained about the same, the average strength and ferocity, spawning more Category 4 and 5 hurricanes which are the most powerful, have nearly doubled. Human and animal populations along the Gulf coastlines have increased over the same time period, meaning that the danger to all life and property from a Category 4 Hurricane like Harvey, and a Category 5 Hurricane like Irma have increased dramatically.

Hurricanes form in the ocean when areas of low pressure draw in area from surrounding areas of high pressure, and moist air warmed by the heat of the ocean rises through the storm which in turn causes a greater suction effect. Rain begins to fall, and through a repeat of the same process can be drawn back up again, and if this cycle is not broken, then once the moist air reaches wind speeds of 119 kph(74 mph), a hurricane is formed; with a calm eye and winds which can extend for tens of miles outwards in all directions. The longer a hurricane stays over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the stronger it becomes, and since ocean heat fuels the power of hurricanes, many scientists believe that global warming is responsible for the increase in powerful tropical storms and hurricanes.

Coral reefs, the undersea forests of the ocean, occupy less than 1% of the ocean depths, and provide food and habitat for more than 25% of all marine life. The complex ecosystems are extremely fragile and very sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and can easily be destroyed, taking decades to recover.

The Humane Society of Canada continues to work in partnership with The American Humane Association.