The eyes of the world focus on Japan and the horrendous aftermath of a double-whammy act of nature. On March 11, many areas were literally washed away when the earthquake-born tsunami flooded over the Northeastern side of the country. Last estimates I saw exceeded 16,000 human lives lost. That’s slightly less than half the population of Sherman, Texas.
In my world, we also look to the animals—there will be no accurate count for them. But most did not survive the tsunami. Farm animals drowned or were swept out to sea and those that survived are being moved inland to ranches, whenever possible. Pets died, tied up in yards or trapped inside flooded homes that were abandoned when owners ran for their own lives. Only a few were able to escape with their animal friends.
One of my pet writer colleagues Cheryl Smith shared information from an animal care professional in Japan who says currently the only official rescue work is conducted by the disaster response team formed jointly by the Japan Veterinary Medical Association, the Japan Animal Welfare Society, the Japan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Japan Pet Care Association. “These are the largest animal welfare charities in the country and are connected to local veterinary associations.” The team seeks to shelter animals near the area by recruiting local vet clinics that are still functioning.
It’s difficult to know where to send aid. The Japan Animal Welfare Society has been put in charge of channeling foreign support for the animals on behalf of the above-mentioned disaster response team, but accepting international donations is not easy. The special account has been set up here: MIZUHO BANK, Roppongi Branch, 7-15-7 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 106-0032 Tel 81-3-3405-6611, Branch#053, Swift code 0001, Ordinary Account #2814596, Japan Animal Welfare Society.
Other private organizations have online PayPal accounts and are designating funds to foster “orphaned” animals. For instance, Animal Refuge Kansai http://www.arkbark.net/ says many foreigners are trying to leave the country but aren’t allowed to take animals with them. If you can get pets to the airport, ARK will take them. A PayPal link is on the website to fund that effort.
World Vets is a non-government organization that provides veterinary aid in collaboration with animal advocacy groups, foreign governments, US and foreign military groups and veterinary professionals abroad. Check out their facebook page here (http://www.facebook.com/WorldVets) and send funds to support their effort via the PayPal link on the left upper side of the home page here: http://worldvets.org/.
From their website, “World Vets currently has Dr. Koji Fukomura in Tokyo and Adrien Zap in the field north of Niigata. Adrien is working with Animal Friends Niigata and they are close to the hardest hit areas right now. We are also coordinating pallet-load shipments of supplies to aid local animal welfare groups in Japan. . .people are fleeing the country and leaving their animals behind. Shelters are being overwhelmed with animals. We are working with local groups to support them. We are currently coordinating a shipment to Japan Cat Network as well.”
World Vets has other relief teams on standby, and also has concern about radiation risks—and is NOT currently recruiting additional volunteers. They request veterinary supplies and/or medicines as follows: De-worming medicines, vaccinations, fluid replacements, wound treatments, and cages. Donations of these items can be shipped to: World Vets headquarters, 802 1st Ave N, Fargo ND 58102