Volunteers from San Diego Return from Maui Relief Mission


Volunteers from the San Diego Humane Society Emergency Response Team recently returned from a relief mission in Maui, where they witnessed the aftermath of the Lahaina Fire that had ravaged the area. The team’s efforts were focus on aiding animals and ensuring their well-being in the midst of the crisis. The mission also left them with a valuable lesson about the importance of preparedness.

Assessing the Devastation:

Upon arriving in Lahaina on August 14, Summer Piper, a member of the response team, was meet with a landscape alter by destruction. The tightly-packed neighborhood had been drastically transform, leaving many houses reduce to rubble. The extent of the devastation underscored the urgency of their work in assisting both the affected people and their pets.

Animals in Need:

The primary concern for the response team was the welfare of animals left in the wake of the disaster. Piper noted the presence of burns and injuries among the animals they encountered. These injuries ranged from singed fur to escape-related wounds. Their tasks encompassed feeding animals, providing veterinary care, conducting search and rescue operations, and trapping skittish or injured pets for rehabilitation.

Wide Array of Animals Assisted:

The team’s efforts extended beyond domestic pets, encompassing a diverse range of animals including cats, dogs, pigs, goats, horses, and sheep. Their commitment to rehabilitating various species highlighted the extensive impact of the disaster on both human and animal communities.

Perspective on Destruction:

Piper contrasted the scale of the fire in Maui with familiar wildfires in California. While the Lahaina Fire cover approximately 2,000 acres, the level of devastation it inflict was disproportionately immense compare to larger fires in California. This realization offered a stark reminder of the unpredictability and intensity of natural disasters.

Preparedness Lessons:

One of the key takeaways for Piper and her team from this mission was the significance of having a well-defined exit plan in the face of emergencies. She emphasize that many individuals affect by the disaster were left without sufficient time to gather their belongings or even locate their family members. Piper stressed the value of preparing in advance to mitigate the chaos that can arise when evacuation becomes a matter of minutes.

Final Thoughts:

The relief mission in Maui not only showcased the resilience and dedication of volunteers like Summer Piper and her team but also highlighted the urgent need for disaster preparedness. The collaboration between communities and organizations like the San Diego Humane Society remains crucial in times of crisis, as it plays a vital role in alleviating suffering and promoting recovery for both people and animals.