The tsunami on March 11, 2011 have affected the lives of not only humans, but there are also many animals that have lost their homes, owners or their lives. For those that survived, their hardship continues.
1. Animals that were left within the evacuation zone around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.
The residents were asked to immediately leave the area after the earthquake and no one ever thought they would have to be evacuated for a longer-period; they thought they would be home in 2-3 days. They left everything in their homes including their pets and livestocks (some people took their small-size animals though).
As days passed, it became more apparent that they would not be able to go home, some say for years! They want to go back to bring back their pets with them but many don’t have the means to get there (they also had to leave their cars).
Many NPOs and individuals are now entering these zones to rescue such animals, some roaming on the streets, some tied in chain or some kept inside houses. As long as one cover him/herself with mask, cap, raincoats, poncho, etc., he/she will not be exposed to the radition. Upon their return to the ‘safe’ zone, both people and pets get screened and there has been no case of people or even animals being detected with radio activities.
The Japanese government has no plans to take part in rescuing them as of this moment.
2. Animals that survived the tsunami
Some animals evacuated with their owners to a safer ground after the earthquake hit. A lot of people have lost homes and many shelters unfortunately don’t allow their pet animals in. In order for them to stay with their animals, some people are even staying in the cars with their pets when the night temperature can get to a freezing point. But with the uncertainty of when they are able to settle in a permanent home, this is not a long-term solution.
Many NPOs and individuals around the country are offering help to keep the animals for an unlimited period of time at no charge.
But they are rather the lucky ones.
For some people, there was not enough time to run to a higher ground. There was only 15 minutes till the tsunami was going to hit. Although some animals survived, they have lost their homes and/or owners.
Many are being rescued by NPOs and volunteers from all over the country. Some drive even 20 hours one way to rescue any animals they find on the streets.