March 24, 2011
BOSTON, MASS. – The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) today committed $150,000 to assist Japan’s Animal Disaster Response Team (ADRT) – a group of local animal groups, including WSPA’s local member society, the Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS) – in providing relief to the thousands of animals affected by the recent disasters.
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 positioned to deliver this support. At the time, WSPA’s assessment revealed that approximately 350,000 people were staying in evacuation centers and up to 10% had brought animals with them – meaning that an estimated more than 30,000 dogs and cats were 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 ADRT 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 centers 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 medication 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 for rescue workers and animal groups to access the area.
For more updates on WSPA’s work in Japan, please visit http://www.animalsindisasters.typepad.com/.
About the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is the world’s largest alliance of animal welfare organizations, currently representing more than 1,000 member societies in more than 150 countries. WSPA strives to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends. WSPA brings about change at both grassroots and government levels to benefit animals, and has consultative status at the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit our website, follow us on Twitter and “Like” our Facebook page.
WSPA is uniquely positioned, with trained full-time staff able to provide an immediate response for animals affected by disasters across the globe. WSPA has been involved in many recent and past relief efforts, including Haiti, where it helped to treat more than 50,000 animals following the 2010 earthquake. WSPA was also jointly involved in relief efforts following Japan’s last major natural disaster, the Kobe earthquake in 1995, when approximately 9,000 animals received assistance.
WSPA U.S. Communications Manager