Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In Face Of Historic Floods, Malaysians Set Out To Rescue Stranded Pets

by Emily Atkin Posted on December 29, 2014

There is at least some good news coming out of the unprecedented flooding in Malaysia and Thailand this week: for some stranded cats and dogs, help is on the way.

Volunteers at the S.I. Home Shelter in Shah Alam, Malaysia, are heading out into the flood-ravaged areas of Kemaman and Pekan to rescue dogs, cats, and other animals displaced by the floods, according to a report in The Star, a Malaysian news website. So far, the flooding has killed 24 people and forced the evacuation of 160,000 people. The Malaysian government is calling it the worst in 30 years.


pets and livestock have been called the “silent victims” of flooding, often forgotten in the chaos of evacuation and looked for later.


December is already the peak of rainy season in Thailand and Malaysia, thanks to the strengthening of the northeast monsoon. As Van Dam explains, every year strong high pressure develops over Eastern Europe and China, strengthening northeasterly winds from the South China Sea, which bring heavy rainfall over Malaysia and southern Thailand.

This year, however, was worse than normal. Meteorologist Jim Andrews said the areas have had “way more [rainfall] than they would normally,” noting that rain has been pouring over the area for the last two weeks.

Scientists say climate change, a phenomenon caused by greenhouse gas emissions, makes precipitation events more extreme and increases the likelihood that those events will occur in some areas of the world. That’s because when carbon dioxide is emitted from burning fossil fuels and destroying tropical forests, it traps heat in the atmosphere, raising the planet’s average temperature. A warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture, meaning more water vapor is available to fall as rain, snow, or hail when storms occur.

That finding has been confirmed by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, the National Climate Assessment, and multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers.

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