Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Toll of Humans and Animals in California Fires

I have been following the fires in California closely over the last few weeks. I do not believe that any television pictures or newspaper articles can do justice to the immense scale of this fire.

In my mind it does not matter whether a house is 1 million dollars or 100,000 dollars or who the owners are. What matters is the fact that these people are having their entire lives absolutely and utterly devastated right now and it is virtually out of their control and hands.

What I was however happy to see is the organization of the entire operation of evacuation. Clearly lessons have been learned from New Orleans. Although the 2 disasters are like comparing apples and oranges the basic principles of rescue and survival are identical. I read an article on ABC news regarding the NFL stadium where the vast majority of people seem to be going to. It was both heartbreaking and touching at the same time. Hotels are putting big buffets on for the people. There are massages for free. It’s organized and most importantly CIVILIZED! These things are not paid for by the government. The hotels donated the food and the massages are being offered by a women also displaced by these fires. What I found disheartening from the article were the comments from their fellow Americans complaining that this never happened in New Orleans, they pulled the rich card, the race card and the “its California card” Guess what …they are humans ! They learnt from previous mistakes and found a better way to deal with a tragic situation.

But one of the things that I have followed even more closely is the animals, pets, equines and zoos. I am an animal lover. I believe as much as we need to help ourselves we need to rescue and help them as well as they cannot rescue themselves.
The SHEER scale of the horse rescues actually brought a tear to my eye. Fellow horse people like myself will know you would lay your life down for your horse friend and that what is happening. A rescue center has been set up in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Hundreds upon thousands of horses, cows, pigs, dogs and cats are being brought in by owners SPCA and random citizens with amazing hearts. The horses have their owner’s phone numbers and where they can be found shaved straight into their coats.
If I had the money the means the time I would actually go and help in all honesty. But reading what efforts have already been made has eased my mind. There are stories of families not in direct danger taking as many animals as possible into their homes and onto their land.
All this has given me a slightly altered perspective on the American people. I will not be the harsh critic I usually am in regards to them on this disaster. They are doing the most admiral job possible. Between the fire services, rescue services, SPCA, Animal cruelty units, Police and most importantly the public and residents they are making the best of a bad situation and handling it in a way that is beyond words to describe.

No comments: