Japan One Month Later

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JEARS photo from evacuation zone

One month from the onset of a series of disasters in Northern Japan, the crisis continues and animal rescue teams work diligently to provide care and shelter for lost or displaced pets. .

Here are a few recent updates on animal rescue and assistance efforts following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear radiation leak from the damaged Fukushima power plant.

A vet in Shinomaki provides shelter and medical services

Cats and dogs at Animal Friends Shelter in Niigata, where many rescued animals are housed, and which serves as a food distribution headquarters.

Animal rescue teams stock up on pet food supplies at Niigata then drive hundreds of miles every day to disaster-affected areas to distribute the food to refugee centers, shelters and individual homes.  The teams also respond to reported sightings, rescue strays and take pets to shelters for safe keeping as part of their daily missions.  Quite often people have kept their pets in the car at unwelcoming refugee centers, and the rescue teams are able to take those pets to shelters until they can be reunited with their families.

A visit to Animal Friends Shelter by JEARS (Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support) volunteer Leonora Sophie.

JEARS and other teams help animals even within the Fukushima evacuation zone, where many  pets and farm animals were left to fend for themselves. Some Fukushima residents have also reentered the zone to look for their own animals, or have asked the rescuers to help find their pets.

Kinship circle poignantly atates that in part, theyfocus on animals shivering on chains, in cars or kennels at human shelters or alone at damaged homes. Water bowls freeze. Food is scarce.

Cat trapped and rescued by Kinship Circle team

Kinship Circle animal disaster responder Ron Presley  is seen petting one of three cats living in a woman’s unheated car outside a no-pets evacuation center in Rikuzentakatashi, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, in the photo below. The woman gave her cats to the team so they could secure temporary shelter for them.

Humane Society International says its team has helped to set up feeding stations along the periphery of the forbidden district  to lure animal survivors to its borders, where they can be saved through capture, treatment, and rescue, as necessary.

Some residents return to their homes days later and find their pets. The woman in the video below exhibits the rawest of emotion upon her return home after 25 days to find one of her cats successfully trapped for rescue.

Desperate Paws dog club founders Stephen and Brandi Terry, of Newport Beach CA,  Japanese veterinarian Kazumasu Sadaki, and World Vets International  have teamed together, raised money to provide food, and arranged for transport of military members’ animals.

Northern Command chief Adm. James Winnefield writes that as of early  April the Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., had helped coordinate the return of 5,200 family members and 235  pets.

The still image below comes from a video of the airlift transport of cats from Fukushima to Hokkaido. The video show one cat carrier after another being loaded from the van to the airplane.

The following strongly titled video shows a  plaintive appeal for help for the animals still stranded in the Fukushima evacuation zone. The maker created a few versions of this video, some of them graphic. This version does not include the graphic material. and shows stranded animals being fed. Please excuse the translation.

The devastation remains, people are still displaced, and many pets are still not with their families. Rescue teams say they will continue to work to feed and shelter the pets of Northern Japan for as long as needed.

Devastation as observed by JEARS volunteer Leonora Sophie

(AP Photo/Hiro Komae) A cat sits on a sofa at a damaged store in front of Japan Railway Odaka station in Minami Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan Friday, April 8, 2011.

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