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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Qatar animal shelters appeal for help after flooding


Flooded access to Qaws shelter
Flooded access to Qaws shelter

Though normalcy has returned to most of Doha following yesterday’s heavy rains, Qatar’s animal rescue services are continuing to feel the effects of the flooding.

Organizers are now appealing to residents to help tackle fallen trees, leaking shelters and a food shortage.

At the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS) shelter in Muaither, the rainstorm caused two large trees to give way, one of which has blocked off all vehicle access to the site, while another has badly damaged a fence.

Blocked access to Qaws' shelter
Blocked access to Qaws’ shelter

The shelter is on a farm and is only accessible by a dirt track that is under several feet of water in places, making it difficult for municipal vehicles to drain.

Additionally, its car park is flooded and the only way to get to the animals is by walking through knee-deep water, one of the charity’s founding members Kelly Allen told Doha News.

Unable to take deliveries of drinking water or food, the charity is urgently appealing for a volunteers who have access to a chainsaw to help them open up the track again.

“This is the worst flooding we have had in the 12 years we’ve been here,” Allen said.

“While we often flood a bit when it rains, we’ve never had big trees come down like this. We can’t take in any deliveries – the tree has blocked our gate and it is completely impassible.”

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Allen said the shelter has enough food and water only for a few days, and is hoping trucks can get in soon to make bulk deliveries.

“We will have to buy and walk in big bottles of water and bags of food soon, unless we can improve access,” she added.

Currently, QAWS shelters 300 lost or abandoned animals.

Thanks to weather warnings, volunteers were able to use tarpaulins to patch up leaky shelter roofs ahead of the worst of the rain.

“Our animals are all ok. Dog walking has been cut right back – they are having time off the lead. But our cats are dry,” Allen said.

Anyone able to help tackle the fallen tree can contact QAWS through its Facebook page or by calling 5539 6074.

Leaking roofs

Meanwhile, local shelter Paws Rescue Qatar (Paws) has suffered multiple leaks at its site, which is also in Muaither.

Organizers said they are running low on food because a flood in its storeroom destroyed about half of its stock. Speaking to Doha News, volunteer manager Tawney Kruger said:

“We had lots of leaks inside. Our store room was badly damaged – panels on the flat roof were rotten and they gave way, affecting lots of our food bags, which we’ve had to throw away.

We had to rebuild some of the shelters during the storm, as the roofs came off. Our volunteers worked really hard in the rain, getting soaked to the bone, to protect our animals,” she continued.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

While the shelter’s paved access road was not as badly flooded as the nearby QAWS shelter, Kruger said that the inside of the facility is still very wet and muddy.

The shelter, which houses 160 dogs and 130 cats, is appealing for donations of wooden pallets to help the animals avoid the worst of the mud. It is also asking for ceiling panels to patch up the store room and other leaky patches.

To help replenish its food stock, Paws is calling for donations of dry dog food, either Pedigree or Purina brands, as well as puppy food.

And volunteers are sought to wash the muddy animals and keep them warm in the damp conditions.

Yesterday, around 20 of the 60 dogs usually kept outdoors were moved to temporary facilities in a nearby warehouse. Others will hopefully be moved today, Kruger said.

However, the wet conditions can affect the animals’ health.

“A big worry is chest infections for the dogs and a few of the outside cats which had trouble finding shelter in the rain. They will probably get sick because of the storm,” Kruger said.

Cash donations

Finally, 2nd Chance Rescue has asked for cash donations via an online fundraising website to help keep its operations running.

Shelter animals
Shelter animals

With more than 150 rescue dogs, the shelter spends QR500 a day on food and has no spare cash to help pay for urgent repairs to its facilities which are badly leaking, it said on its Facebook page.

In a public appeal for help, the charity added:

“Buckets of water are the only things standing between our dogs and flooded floors in some of our indoor rooms whilst the majority of our dogs suffer from the wind and rain outside with only cage walls to shelter them.”

Speaking to Doha News, 2nd Chance Manager Amy Redfern said that in addition to cash, the shelter is seeking donations of wire mesh and volunteers to help repair the outdoor cages that shelter around 130 of its dogs.

The site’s indoor facilities have also been badly damaged in the storms, and are leaking heavily.

“My concern is if the rain comes again, there will be real problems. There is nowhere for the water to drain to,” she said.

Donations of bags of dried dog food are also in demand, as the shelter goes through around 70kg of food each day to feed its animals.

Contributions can be made through 2nd Chance’s fundraising page, or by contacting them via Facebook.


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