+++ Acute Emergency +++
Flood disaster at our „Sorriso di San Francesco“ in Assisi/Italy

Update 09.11.2023:

Dear friends of Pro Animale,

It is a precarious momentum of our time that we are increasingly having to face the threatening facts of climatic distortions almost everywhere – we will hardly be able to escape these afflictions.

As you know, the extent of the devastation and destruction following the flood disaster in our Sorriso di San Francesco is indeed dramatic.

You would think that in such a disparate situation, the bureaucracy could be scaled down in order to get essential repairs underway as quickly as possible – but just the opposite is the case.

We needed a special permit for every bale of hay, almost every board or other goods that we had to transport across our makeshift footbridge.

You can imagine what a nerve-wracking ordeal this situation was for us.

We were constantly worried that a period of heavy rain could set in and hinder all the measures.

We were finally able to install an emergency bridge, which also required a special permit.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Pro Animale representative in Italy, Cristian Castaldi, who has taken on this Herculean task with such dedication that it can only be described as such.

There are seemingly endless visits to the authorities, journeys from Rome to the north of Italy, to knock on the doors of decision-makers or companies in person and ask to be heard – the cause of the animals should not take second place to the cause of the people, because many private individuals have lost all their belongings and are also urgently waiting for help (I would just like to remind you of the situation in the Ahr valley, even today after two years people are still waiting for help or permits)

Of course, you are perceived differently when you appear in person rather than just sending enquiries by email or telephone. All too quickly, our urgent, vital request would end up in the bottom pile of the desk with a tired wave of the hand.

It is thanks to Cristian Castaldi and his constant pleading that an international bridge construction company has donated the indispensable supply bridge worth 130,000 € to us – an animal welfare organisation.

After the flood disaster, the municipality of Assisi declared a national state of emergency and asked the state for help. The state then set up an extraordinary commissariat in Perugia. All applications must be submitted to this commissioner’s office and reviewed, assessed and decided on by a committee of 5 experts. The results are then passed on to the mayor’s office in Assisi for a final opinion.

Cristian had to obtain expert opinions from the following state authorities (partly in Rome):

– Building authority
– Hydraulic Engineering Office
– Office for Geology
– Supreme Building Authority
– Agricultural Office
– Land Surveying Office
– Supervisory authority of Assisi

These reports are now available so that Cristian can submit them to the commissioner’s office for review.

Over the past few weeks, a delegation of 5 decision-makers has met several times on site in our valley.

As soon as we receive authorisation from the supervisory authority to install the 26-metre-long bridge and as soon as the weather conditions allow, a specialist company can start work on the foundations for the bridgeheads.

  1. The costs for this preparatory work, which will take around 5 weeks including drying, amount to €42,000.
    3 employees of the bridge manufacturer will then anchor the 8 bridge sections using a special crane.
  2. The transport of the bridge and its final installation by the company will cost €24,000. The final installation of the bridge will take approx. 3-5 days and will be carried out after the preparatory work has been completed.

In our short video on the flood disaster, you can see that the entire riverbank was badly damaged, from the soil to the bushes and trees.

According to a preliminary estimate by the commission, the elementary riverbank stabilisation of over 1.2 km in length with a protective wall, which stretches from the entire cat enclosure to behind the donkey stable, will cost € 75,000.

Here we had to have the authorisation from the civil defence of the Umbria region and the district authority for the catchment area of the Central Apennines.

There will be more exhausting weeks and months ahead of us here, as this work will of course have an extraordinary impact on the entire animal sanctuary, our protégés will not be able to move around freely as usual, but will have to put up with restrictions.

Dear friends of Pro Animale, please help us to cope with this extraordinary crisis caused by a flood disaster.

And although our work on the ground is extremely challenging, 5 puppies and 3 kittens, all just three to four weeks old, were recently abandoned in a cardboard box at our front gate…

Jetzt Spenden! Das Spendenformular wird von betterplace.org bereit gestellt.

Dear animal lovers, please donate now, because only with your support we can rebuild our “Sorriso di San Francesco” and keep our more than 140 animal protectors there their home!

You have the choice: via PayPal, QR code or regular bank transfer.

Our donation account:
Sparkasse Coburg Lichtenfels

IBAN: DE 33 7835 0000 0000 202010

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Update 10.07.2023:

Dear friends of Pro Animale,

As I am sure you’ll appreciate, we are extremely busy with our Sorriso di San Francesco animal shelter in Assisi, which has been hit by the flood disaster. The situation remains dramatic.

We hope to be able to install our supply bridge in the next few weeks – until then we have to make do with a makeshift bridge to ensure the daily supplies for our horses, donkeys, sheep, goats and cats.

The supply bridge, the rebuilding of the fencing, the fortification of the river bank – all this now presents us with unimagined enormous financial challenges! Please support us in this enormous undertaking!

The upcoming summer issue of DER TROPFEN, which will reach you in early August, will report in detail about the situation on the ground.

Torrential rains unleashed over the Assisi region

1/4 of the average annual rainfall poured down in just a matter of a FEW MINUTES and flooded out our valley and animal shelter!

„Bomba d’acqua, esondano il Topino e il Tescio – Allagamenti a Nocera Scalo, Assisi e Bastia Umbra… Acqua a livelli di guardia a Bastia“ TGR RAI Umbria

Dear friends of Pro Animale,

Having just receiving your tremendous support, selfless, unconditional commitment to the animal rights activists on site in Oleshky, which in turn enabled us to evacuate more than 220 four-legged flood victims from Oleshky/Kherson, we are now faced with our own flood disaster at “Sorriso di San Francesco” sanctuary in Assisi Italy!

Destroyed sheep stable
Destroyed Sheep Stable

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Video about the flood disaster

Unprecedented in the history of Assisi, torrential downpours of incredible force and concentration fell on the Assisi region on Friday afternoon, June 23, 2023. Immense masses of water poured into the river Tescio, which runs through our valley. The water level rose by more than 4 meters within just 40 minutes! The local press is calling it a “water bomb” which discharged itself within a very short space of time causing catastrophic flooding, mudslides and landslides.

Some of our stables were violently swept away or destroyed by the massive surge of water. The river bank – soil, bushes and trees – were destroyed.

A vital supply bridge which connected our main building – an old mill for our dogs – to our horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, pigs and cats on the other side of the river in the valley, was torn away by the violent force of the water.

The fire brigade, local civil defence forces, police and authorities were on site until the early hours of the morning to support us in rescue efforts and securing our animals. Electric lines were exposed. Technicians from the regional civil defence forces came to our aid to the best of their ability. It was impossible for us to cross the raging river and even today areas of our property are not accessible.

Tragically, our two roosters, Philipp and Pascal, and our two pot-bellied pigs, Cesarea and Dulcinea, fell victim to the floods. Until this morning we were desperately looking for them and a few hours ago we received word from the police that they had been found washed up dead in the neighboring town. We are infinitely sad.

Thankfully, the rest of the animals, as well as our staff, were unharmed.

Our grazing pastures are now left covered with a layer of thick mud. Garbage, waste and debris from communities upriver is now littering our valley. The scale of the destruction is devastating.

Our animals are meanwhile safe and taken care of.

Dear friends of Pro Animale, after my return from Assisi, I will send you a more detailed assessment of the situation with photo documentation.

Please help us overcome this horribly, tragic situation. We sincerely hope you will support us! Many thanks.

Donate via PayPal:

Our donation account:
Sparkasse Coburg Lichtenfels
IBAN: DE 33 7835 0000 0000 202010 | BIC: BYLADEM 1 COB

Dear animal lovers, please donate now, because only with your support we can rebuild our “Sorriso di San Francesco” and keep our more than 140 animal protectors there their home!

You have the choice: via PayPal, QR code or regular bank transfer.

Our donation account:
Sparkasse Coburg Lichtenfels

IBAN: DE 33 7835 0000 0000 202010

Please share this story!