The Humane Society International is continuing its response to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster. Since March 12, the HSI has been working with other organizations to coordinate this giant relief effort, efforts on par with the earthquake in Haiti last year and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The HSI has been working with Japanese animal welfare groups and other international organizations to determine the most urgent needs. Groups in Japan have requested assistance with dog kennels, animal bowls, collars, and food along with guidance on setting up emergency shelters. The HSI is providing an initial relief package of $170,000 of direct grants and emergency supplies, along with planning and implementation of temporary shelters in the disaster zone.
The HSI Disaster Response Team, who happened to be training in Cebu in the Philippines on March 11, have purchased $120,000 worth of essential supplies and Philippine Air has offered to ship these supplies for free. HSI is also sending $50,000 to the Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS) so they can gather supplies directly and to assist in the support of individual veterinarians who are already providing rescue and medical care in the disaster area.
A HSI correspondent working with a veterinarian in the disaster zone sent the following report:
We face two major challenges: taking in animals who have lost their owners, and helping people who managed to survive with their pets…
Depending on the facility, there are some refugee centers with many accompanying pets, while others have no animals. Unfortunately, with time passing, some complaints have arisen from the non-owners about the pets. Cats are especially difficult to house. One clinic in the Miyako area is currently caring for 35 animals, the maximum number they can handle. The chief issues they have seen are upset stomachs and infections…
It is very difficult to get information about animals from authorities, as they are inundated with ‘people requests’.” The local vets are the only resources available for knowing just where the animals are, aside from any information gleaned from people we happen to come across.
Because Japan is an industrialized national that already has an active animal welfare community, the HSI is taking more of a consultant role in the animal rescue efforts, partnering with existing Japanese organizations to assist them with coordination, grant-making, and supply procurement. If the situations changes and requests are made, the HSI is ready to move their people in at a moment’s notice.
HSI is actively soliciting monetary support for this effort on their website’s donation page. The Animal Rescue Site is also raising money for animal efforts in Japan. Here is their donation page. Funds are distributed through a partnership with GreaterGood.org. HSI will continue its efforts with local organization in Japan to increase shelter capacity and to assist with animal rescue and care by individuals and hospitals.
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