Kinship Circle
Alive On Ledges, Bridges…
Thailand Flood Report #8

DATE: Late November-Early December, 2011
LOCATION: Emergency Shelter: Bangkok, Thailand
Flood areas NW of Bangkok, including Om Nai Nontkam, Srisamlan Temple
SUBMITTED BY: Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle founder/director in Thailand
TEAM: Beth Schmidt, Cara Blome, Ron Presley, Cheri Deatsch, Brenda Shoss, Grady Ballard, Adrienne Usher, Bryan Grant. Mott (SCAD Bangkok, translator), Litt (Save Elephant Foundation, navigator in flood zones), Clare (SCAD Bangkok, documentation) Aid For Animal Flood Victims In The Soaked Northwest Rim Of Bangkok

A three-vehicle crew of Kinship Circle responders, SCAD Bangkok, and Save Elephant Foundation head into the deluged northwest rim of Bangkok. Flooding is so vast that animal distress is remains unknown in some spots. Kinship Circle has enough volunteers to divide field missions, but funding is critical for teams to reach more animals. They are tucked in ledges over water with small white ripples. Others swim from curbs to dry spots. People wade pulling tubs, buckets )one with a small terrior-poodle mix aboard).

We enter Om Nai Nontkam, our SUV creeping along as we never know which street will suddenly be a creek with water lapping at our doors. Mott, our Thai interpreter from the NGO SCAD Bangkok that runs the Bang Pu emergency shelter, walks along dry sidewalks to get information about animals from locals. Are any stranded without food somewhere? Are their any Buddhist temples here where monks need more food. Animals typically congregate on the marble steps and ledges throughout a temple complex.

As we drive slowly, we see a white dog chest deep paddling toward a dry curb. He looks healthy. The community feeds him. This is our measure, as there is not enough room at the flood shelter for everyone. We ferry only the sick and wounded, or pups and lactating mothers. The rest are sheltered in place. The back half of our SUV is piled with dog and cat food.

CLICK ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE TO ORIGINAL SIZE. Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Cara Blome

This local woman feeds dogs rice and vegetables everyday. (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12 / Cara Blome
When the water grows too deep, we are unable to proceed by vehicle. Volunteers wade toward a temple reported to have 60+ dogs and innumerable cats. A monk atop a ledge confirms that they need food for these animals. On either side of him are cats perched in the hot sun, far from the water below. We slosh over to the temple complex entrance, where a Thai girl, a woman and man meet us with a small flatboat. First, Adrienne, Beth and Brenda feed a cat on a ledge over flood waters. We pass the rest of the food bags on to the boat. The little girl is waist deep in water, but holds our hands to help us climb atop the food-laden boat. The boat is then pushed into an other-worldly circle of temples. The sand-bagged complex has filled with motionless water that covers every patio, walkway and flat surface. Ornate gold trim from the top half of majestic buildings pokes above the water line. It is eerily quiet.

feeding puppies in flood
Stranded In Flood Lagoons

A lady named "Yupreene" stands by her boat in the temple's lagoon. She feeds animals balls of rice and vegetables, since the floods began.

Dogs, pups, cats inhabit dry spots within a circle of temples. Puppies, oblivious to peril, bounce on steps that descend into water. We distribute all food carried in by flat boat, and stay to assess overall animal conditions.

One tan pup, her paw draped over a teeny white baby, checks us out from behind a pillar. Another ring-eyed puppy only wants to engage us. She is all kisses and paw taps.

Some skittish dogs dart down narrow passages and swim across narrow crevices. They know the grounds and these monks as their caretakers. But food for them has been scarce.

Kinship Circle's team visits a second temple, now dry. Food donations are no longer needed, so our limited reserve is spared. Another area along today's route is simply too flooded to access by vehicle and foot. It requires a real boat, and this operation only possesses one boat.

Kinship Circle's Ron Presley joins a separate team today, led by Save Elephant Foundation's Darrick Thomson, on the deep-water boat…

A two hour drive gets us back to the Bang Pu emergency shelter to help with evening cage cleaning, walks, food, water, meds. Tonight one little brown and white speckled pup won't eat. She was fine yesterday. Today, she is lethargic. Kinship Circle's Brenda Shoss cradles the pup as British veterinarian Emma injects her with subcutaneous fluids for dehydration. The cutie pie perks up a bit from the fluid boost, sips water on her own and shows interest in the food.

It is a day by day bridge from flood rescue to recovery. Some animals bounce back right away. Some move more slowly. A few don't make it. On the ground, it is impossible not to care about each one. A face becomes a part of you.

Thailand Photo Diary

Nov-Dec 2011, Cara Blome

► See all flood images in field reports!
► Or visit Thailand Flood Photo Gallery.
All thumbnails click to full size photos.


Photo (C) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12

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