I also blog for a cat rescue group, and since this is an update on why I'm not churning out the word for National Novel Writing Month - I've done some mud mucking besides bleaching the crap out of things.
On Saturday (or Caturday), a group of SARA volunteers with power troubles that barred our normal adoption afternoons went down to Union Beach, NJ to help St. Francis Feline Fellowship.
Union Beach, N.J. on Raritan Bay is a community hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy. Even two weeks later, not all traffic lights are operational on Route 36. One of the banks has a truck set up in their parking lot as a mobile banking center. There were signs flashing alongside the road with info on where to get food, water, and ice.
NJ.com and News 12 have both picked up that Union Beach is a community that needs rebuilding. From Tomas Dinges of NJ.com:
The night of the storm the wind-driven tidal surge swept into homes with violent force, crashing through locked doors and carefully sealed windows and tearing through living rooms, hallways, bedrooms and kitchens.
Walls ripped from foundations and two-story houses sheared in half. Brook Avenue and Front Street became roads of ruin, with homes like Stenquist’s reduced to concrete and wooden rubble.
Between 200-300 were knocked off their foundations or rendered uninhabitable, authorities say. More than 100 houses are simply missing from the tightly knit community of 6,200 that lives in the tiny town of one square mile.
Houses that weren’t obliterated were flooded, the water cresting at eight feet, then draining away, taking with it anything that floated.
St. Francis Feline Fellowship is located at a residence that still exists. Repairs are needed to the residence, and while I was out there Saturday, FEMA came by twice to take pictures and notes. Even though that'll help later, the primary home insurance adjustor has not visited. The second step is the flood insurance, then FEMA's assistance will be last. In addition to the house, Sue's car was floated onto the front porch and considered totalled.
In addition to the personal loss, Sue realized that the storm surge was higher than it had ever been in Union Beach. She stated her house never had this kind of flooding.
There is a cat sanctuary on the property. It was recently built, and has an interior section with heat and air conditioning. Feral cats were being sheltered in it, including a cat that was at my house for two years waiting for a sanctuary spot to open up.
Sue evacuated as many cats as she could from the sanctuary that night, in the dark and in chest-deep water. They were crowded together on a high shelf, needing her help to reach somewhere safer. Grabbing feral, scared cats is not easy, and even though Sue has practice handling difficult cats, the only thing that mattered was getting the cats out of this shelter. Not a single cat was injured or lost.
What I worked on Saturday was getting the sanctuary shelter cleared out, cleaning it, and getting it ready for the cats to return to their normal home.
Out of the cat supplies, a great deal was lost. Any soft furniture was waterlogged, cat trees with particle board bases was considered totaled, even if it did not come apart because of possibiilty of mold or mildew, blankets and towels were saturated with mud, and full bags of dry cat food had become wet.
There was a second small building that was used for recovery for any ill cats or those needing surgery, including spay/neuters. There were more materials lost from that building as well.
St. Francis Feline Fellowship needs donations - there is a donation button on the web site. It's also 501(c)3, like Summit Animal Rescue. It might seem odd one rescue group pointing at another, but St. Francis is similar to SARA, but also different. Sue does more TNR, socializing cats that may seem unadoptable, and will sanctuary a limited number of ferals that have nowhere to go.
I have no hands-on experience with TNR work, and I've only socialized a few somewhat feral kittens. Morticia's, currently a resident in Sue's sanctuary.