As Hurricane Florence batters the coast of the Carolinas, wreaking havoc with screaming winds and lashing rain, our Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team is at the ready to deploy for search and rescue in the impacted areas, and to support shelters and communities that officially request our help.

Earlier this week, team members sprung into action to help evacuate animal shelters in Florence’s path. Typically, during storms of this nature, shelters see a sharp increase in animal intake as residents evacuate ahead of the storm. Working with partners, we have helped more than 400 adoptable cats and dogs get out of shelters in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina; the animals are going to Maryland, Tennessee, New Jersey, other parts of Virginia, Michigan and other locations.

Yesterday, we facilitated the transport of 72 adoptable cats and dogs to the D.C. metro area thanks to our partner Angels of Assisi in Roanoke, Virginia, who traveled to Kinston, North Carolina, to pick up the entire shelter population of the Lenoir County SPCA -- more than 160 animals. The Kinston community is expected to sustain severe damage from flooding. The animals will be available for adoption through Angels of Assisi and two of our other Virginia partners, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

The Michigan Humane Society, the Humane Educational Society of Tennessee, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey, and the McKamey Animal Center in Tennessee all visited Greenville County Animal Care Services in South Carolina, which is serving as a hub, over the last 48 hours to pick up shelter animals evacuated from the coast and to make room at the Greenville facility for incoming storm victims. We’ve coordinated those efforts and provided funding for the receiving groups.

We’ll continue to reach out to partners in the path of the storm to offer help, and remind people who live in at-risk areas to keep themselves, and their pets, out of the path of the hurricane.

Some of the toughest work will come after the storm. Last year, after a string of hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, we conducted house-to-house searches, pulling out dozens of animals in danger because of flooding. Team members waded through waist-deep waters to save every animal they could. Florence is a slow-moving storm and its impact is expected to last for days. As we learn the full effects of this storm in coming weeks, we are ready to help.

Meanwhile, we are also offering a helping hand in Hawaii, which has weathered more than its share of natural disasters this year. Recently, Hurricane Lane caused massive flooding in several of the Hawaiian Islands, including on Oahu, where the Equine 808 Horse Rescue suffered damage to its holding areas for horses. The HSUS Animal Rescue and Equine Protection teams provided an emergency grant to help this important rehabilitation facility recover.

Earlier, the eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii had wreaked havoc on several communities over a three-month period, with several hundred homes destroyed and thousands of residents – and their animals – displaced. We provided a grant to Hui Pono Holoholona cat sanctuary in Mountain View, which took in and treated over a hundred felines who were left homeless, including some who had suffered upper respiratory illness from the fumes emitted by the volcanic eruptions.

The HSUS has conducted countless rescues and responses over the years, and we are well positioned to help animals when disaster and other emergencies strike. But none of this is possible without your support. Your gift today to the Emergency Animal Rescue Fund ensures that we are able to answer the call whenever animals are impacted by disasters, suffering from cruelty, or otherwise in need of urgent rescue.

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