Kinship Circle
Kinship Circle In Thailand
Thailand Flood Report #1

DATE: November 4-7, 2011
LOCATION: Bang Pu Area. Bangkok, Thailand
SUBMITTED BY: George McKeehan, Kinship Circle IC
TEAM: George McKeehan, Lexie Cataldo, Blaine Whealy, Tim Gorski Howling From A Patch Of Dry Land

The water span dwarfs Bangkok by 10 to 20 times. Satellite maps show a dark mass stretching from Ayutaya to Bangkok, a city of millions. One district pumps out floodwaters. Another fills. A levee opens. Water spills into streets, homes and businesses somewhere else. Some say the sewage-filled waters won't recede for months. One newspaper said it would take Noah's Ark to save them all. Dogs bark from sloped rooftops, 10, 15 or more uneasily balanced together. They wait on porches that poke out of the water. The last dry place. Others are submerged chest deep. When finally pulled out, pus-filled lesions line their bellies and legs. The skin rots, if underwater too long.

Animals are seen in phone booths surrounded by water. But the saddest portrait, says Tim Gorski — a Kinship Circle disaster responder and documentary filmmaker in Thailand when floods escalated — are those who paddle toward any surface taller than a meter and half. They cling to tiny islands and howl through the night. Marooned without food or unpolluted water.

Kinship Circle IC George McKeehan, with rescued dogs at shelter, works past midnight with team members and Save Elephant Foundation.
Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
CLICK ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE TO ORIGINAL SIZE. IC George McKeehan comforts a dog at the disaster shelter. For Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
Kinship Circle animal disaster responder Blaine Whealy, a firefighter-EMT in Atlanta, helps bring flood victims to safety at an emergency shelter in the Muang District of Bangkok. After 24-hour travel from the U.S. to Thailand, volunteers worked long after midnight on shelter set-up and intake. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
Out of harm's way, puppies gotta play. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
IC George McKeehan, with rescued dogs, works past midnight. For Kinship Circle, Thailand / Lexie Cataldo

BACK TO TOP - FIELD NOTES LIST From Airport To Animals

Kinship Circle team members from Atlanta and San Francisco meet at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where disaster responder Tim Gorski, already in Thailand, joins them for the long drive across sprawling Bangkok. A 40-mile trek can last several hours, due to flood-closed roads. At the volunteer hotel in Bangpood, Pakkred District, they convene with Darrick Thomson of Save Elephant Foundation to discuss first-day activities.

SEF has acquired use of a property in southern Bangkok. The disaster shelter in Bang Pu industrial park has large grassy areas, six canopy tents, and indoor space for supplies, veterinary and office work. Running water, toilets, a conference room and electricity are available. The team meets Paisaran ("Patty") Pholsomsuk of SEF who answers volunteer and animal aid calls — around her hectic work schedule at the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai.

To house more flood animals, Thai resident volunteers and an emergency shelter manager are desperately needed.

BACK TO TOP - FIELD NOTES LIST Work Days That Endure Past Midnight

It is already dark when Kinship's George McKeehan, Lexie Cataldo, and Blaine Whealy meet over 40 flood rescues at the shelter. Three SEF volunteers have cared for animals over the last three days. Fencing is cardboard panes upheld by bamboo poles and wooden stakes. Some dogs have outsmarted the makeshift fence with a few stategic leaps.

Dogs far outnumber cats at present, with just a few kittens who are sheltered elsewhere now. They are all shapes, breeds and sizes. From young to old. Health problems range from worms and puncture wounds…to a missing eye and skeletal injuries.

With big-guy firemen George (a Lieutenant) and Blaine on hand, Kinship Circle's team delves into construction set-up, including fence reinforcement. They use plywood panels to rebuild a perimeter fence and develop a plan for intake, bathing, and clinic areas inside the structure. With two SEF staff overnighting at the shelter, volunteer workdays end after 2:00 a.m. right now.

     Kinship Circle
     Animal Disaster Aid Fund
     7380 Kingsbury Blvd.
     Saint Louis, MO 63130 USA

Thai Watana Panich Press
919 Bang Pu Industrial Estate
Soi 11B
Praek-sa rd. Muang District
Samut Prakan

  • Send disaster-trained volunteers for animal aid.
  • Acquire key supplies such as:
    More cages
    Fencing Materials
    Truck, 1-ton dually 6.6 litre 4-wheel drive
    Ball Hitch, to pull trailer and boat
    Catchpoles: 4 & 5 ft
    Slip Leads
    Human First Aid/Medic Kit (for boat rescue)
    Sturdy Work and/or Bite Gloves
    Muzzles, various sizes
    ID Collars, snap-on collars with write-on surface
    Veterinary Medicines

  • Independently trained volunteers with experience in disaster rescue, animal handling, sheltering, animal first aid, veterinary, photography and documentation, leadership skills.
  • Flexibililty to travel to disaster zones for 1-2 weeks.
  • Team players who follow FEMA ICS and Kinship Circle protocols.
  • Self-sustainability in rugged post-disaster settings.
  • CLICK HERE to register as a volunteer for disasters.

  1. To volunteer for animal flood aid contact:
    Volunteer Information Line: 087-186-3804
    Wendy Edney, GM, SCAD Foundation:
    Paisaran ("Patty") Pholsomsuk:

    SHELTER MANAGER: Experienced and/or very organized shelter managers are crucial — so that more animal flood victims can be temporarily sheltered and treated. The Thailand animal flood releif coalition seeks a local resident to oversee an emergency shelter for animals.

    EMERGENCY SHELTER VOLUNTEERS: Thai volunteers are urgently needed for animal intake, handling-care, shelter set-up and maintenance…

Documentary filmmaker and Kinship Circle disaster responder Tim Gorski was in Thailand when floods accelerated. Tim was badly bitten by a traumatized dog during boat rescue. His nose-to-lips wound required 25 stitches. Tim visits a hospital daily for infection treatment and rabies shots, but remains in Thailand for animal rescue. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
Thailand Photo Diary

Nov 2011, Lexie Cataldo
See all flood images in field reports!

Or, visit our Thailand Flood Photo Gallery.
Kinship Circle's George McKeehan, Blaine Whealy and Lexie Cataldo (shooting photos) help plan emergency sheltering space in a warehouse structure. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand / Lexie Cataldo
Save Elephant Foundation founder and director, Lek Chailert. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
George McKeehan, a Lieutenant with Marietta Fire Department and Kinship Circle's IC for Thailand Team #1, reviews shelter set-up notes. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
Tim Gorski (standing, left) pauses while working with volunteers to develop an emergency shelter for animal flood victims. Photo for Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
Darrick Thomson and wife Lek Chailert, head of Save Elephant Foundation, lead relief efforts for animals stranded and hurt in Thailand floods. Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Lexie Cataldo
George McKeehan, with Kinship Circle, and more volunteers arrange supplies and feed animals at the disaster shelter in southern Bangkok. For Kinship Circle / Lexie Cataldo
Kinship Circle Disaster Animal Response Team in rescue scenes worldwide ▼

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Animal Advocacy  |  Education  |  Disaster Aid  •  •
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