Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Unprecedented Natural Disaster: Serbia under Water

The worst natural disaster in the history of Serbia has struck. Severe floods that have been ravaging the country over the last few days are still submerging entire towns and claiming lives, while the rescue teams, military, police and thousands of volunteers are trying
to defend the most endangered towns against the rising water. It all started on Tuesday, May 13th, when cyclone Tamara hit the Balkans bringing extremely heavy rain, strong winds and low temperatures. The downpour lasted for days, with no letup in sight. Three-month's worth of rain fell on the region in just three days, causing rivers to overflow and wreaking havoc across Serbia and Bosnia. Things didn’t look good since the beginning, but we all had at least a ray of hope until the rising rivers began to breach
embankments and then all hell broke loose.

Record Balkan flooding claimed dozens of lives, but the total number of victims in Serbia won’t be released until the waters subside. Tens of thousands of citizens
have been evacuated so far and many of them lost everything they had. The losses of farm animals and pets are tremendous as rescuing people was the top priority in the hardest-hit areas, which is understandable, but the authorities’ indifference towards
animal lives is not. Not only that saving livestock began much too late, but pet cats and dogs also seemed to be doomed to a tragic end at the very beginning of the disaster. They were not allowed in the rescue boats or helicopters and while some pet owners, the
true heroes of this tragedy, refused to leave without their furry kids, the others left their pets behind all alone. Many dogs were even left behind still chained, to perish in the rising muddy waters and the owners didn’t even think to free them so they could try to fend
for themselves.

Thousands of volunteers from around the country have spent days strengthening embankments and building up flood defenses along the rising rivers, overflown due to the torrential rain, which
were and are threatening to burst their banks. A catastrophe of epic proportions has undoubtedly moved many to assist those whose lives have been affected, prompted even more to help where the help was needed most and ignited an outpouring
of generosity at the very sight of the images of utter devastation. But after so many unproven rumors and a lot of false information included in the dramatic appeals for help that have been circulating for days now, the only conclusion that can
possibly be drawn is that disaster doesn’t bring out only the best in people, but also the worst.

It’s pretty incomprehensible or, better worded, unbelievable that now, when humans are dying, their pets and livestock are
drowning, entire neighborhoods and even cities vanish in the flood, someone finds it appropriate to add more drama to what’s an unprecedented horror already! Sadly, that’s exactly what’s happening and not for the first time.

The first heartbreaking information was that the dogs from the infamous Pozega pound were drowning in their boxes, submerged by the flood waters, which proved to be totally untrue. The allegedly flooded pound wasn’t flooded at
all and the dogs within didn’t even get wet, much less die. Another obvious and demonstrably absurd false statement, which maybe could be explained only by utter dishonesty and a total lack of morality, was that most of the dogs from private dog shelters in the city of
Obrenovac, which was hit the hardest by the flood, were already dead when a “well intentioned” animal welfare organization offered to help them. Lying so blatantly is plainly astonishing! Dogs in both dog shelters in Obrenovac are just fine, all of them are safe and
sound and the people who run these shelters are now engaged in rescuing strays from the flooded streets of their town. They’re spending hours in the water, cold and exhausted but determined to save as many as possible - dozens of rescued strays are already safe in these shelters, well fed and taken care of. The newest lie is that the culling of strays is about to happen in the areas ravaged by floods, allegedly because the authorities fear contagious diseases – can anyone believe that now, when thousands of
corpses are under water, someone in power could even consider live animals to represent a risk of diseases??? Is it possible that people are so credulous and so naïve that they would readily swallow every big fat lie they hear? What happened to critical thinking?

As to Felix shelter, we haven’t been affected by the flood; there is no river nearby and no water that could rise, so we were spared from the disaster and lucky enough to deal with only the regular problems. Little Tink, who suddenly got sick
more than a week ago, is recovering entirely too slowly - she does eat, but not enough and she is very skinny and frail. She is still very young and has evidently lived in bad conditions before she arrived at the shelter, not to mention she's had serious diarrhea over
the first week here and her immune system is most certainly pretty weak. What makes things a little better is that the older (and very old) cats are by her side constantly, comforting her and keeping her warm, as if she’s been adopted by all of them. Unfortunately,
in spite of all the love we have for her, we can't do much without your financial support.

In light of the recent catastrophic events, our appeal for help will probably pass unnoticed, like many before. Maybe we should emulate some of the saviors
mentioned above and write about our enormous desire and heroic efforts to help animals in flooded dog shelters and our deepest sorrow and absolute devastation when we heard the dogs were already dead, which of course they are not - and it’s still pretty unclear
who on Earth could’ve given that information, if anyone ever did. Maybe we should be bombarding you with dozens of begging posts in which we would state that Felix kitties are facing mortal danger if you don’t donate immediately. But no, you won’t have to
read anything of the kind; we are not drowning in the flood and we most certainly won’t be drowning in our own lies.

Everything else aside, I guess all of you know that our monthly expenses are enormous and for quite some time
donations can't cover the costs of cat food and vet care. There are many geriatric and chronically ill Felix kitties, we also have several of those with reoccurring health problems and at least a dozen youngsters which are extremely delicate and have been sick on and off
literally since they arrived at the shelter! Please, help if you possibly can and share our fundraising page far and wide! Donations have been trickling in for months now and our debts have grown bigger and bigger, we definitely need a lot more help. If you are
able to donate even the smallest amount, please do so! On behalf of these lovely furry creatures, thank you so much in advance!

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