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WSPA has committed $150,000 to help Japanese animals during the critical recovery period in the aftermath of the recent earthquake and tsunami. In the acute phase of the recovery period, expected to last around three months, WSPA’s efforts will be directed towards supporting the setting up of 30 temporary shelters for pets via the Animal Disaster Response Team (ADRT), a coalition of four local animal groups, including WSPA’s local member society, Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS).
After arriving in Japan on Mar. 15, WSPA’s disaster response team conducted an initial assessment to determine where assistance was needed and which local groups were best placed to deliver this support. At the time, WSPA’s assessment revealed that approximately 350,000 people were staying in evacuation centres and up to 10% had brought animals with them – meaning that we estimate more than 30,000 dogs and cats to be in need of shelter.
“Many Japanese families include well-loved pets and, in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, people made every attempt to protect their animals,” says Lindsay Fyffe, Disaster Response Manager at WSPA. “Now, Japanese authorities are challenged with providing temporary housing for both evacuees and their pets. Our disaster relief effort is committed to helping ARDT alleviate this problem, and provide both shelter and care to the thousands of animals – and their families – who are in need.”
WSPA’s efforts will focus on setting up 30 temporary shelters situated near existing human evacuation centres during the next one to three months. The shelters will provide tents, feeding bowls, pet food, veterinary services and essential other equipment, but their main purpose is to enable owners to continue to walk, clean, feed and care for their animals.
WSPA’s disaster response team will also support the ADRT and local veterinarians as they continue to deliver emergency treatment and medicines to animals affected by the disaster.
The situation in Fukushima Prefecture, which is affected by nuclear radiation and remains subject to a 30km evacuation zone, remains unclear. While WSPA is concerned about the unknown number of cattle and poultry left behind in the zone due to the speed of evacuation, radiation levels are still too high to for rescue workers and animal groups to access the area.
For more updates on WSPA’s work in Japan, please visit our Animals in Disasters Blog.