Greetings from Tokyo! This week I am on a special mission to Japan representing American Humane Association as I bring a message of hope and help to the remaining animal victims of the devastating 2011 earthquake. Immediately following this disaster on March 11, 2011, American Humane Association sent a shipment of supplies and donations to relief agencies on the ground here as they worked to shelter and save the lives of animals in jeopardy.
feline residents at the
Tokyo emergency relief shelter
Now, nearly a year to the date since the tragedy that gripped the world, Japan still needs our help. My trip here has two major goals: First, to conduct site visits and to arrange a schedule of financial support to those groups that are caring for and trying to help animals left homeless by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. And second, to extend an offer to share the organization’s more than 100 years of experience in disaster relief to help Japan’s communities prepare for and protect children and animals against future disasters. Our own famous Red Star program is now known as Red Star™ Rescue for Kids and Animals, building on our institutional expertise to protect our communities’ most vulnerable in times of disasters.
Since 1916, American Humane Association has operated the internationally renowned Red Star™ Animal Emergency Services program. Red Star rescue services have been involved not only in nearly every major relief in the United States over the past century, but major international relief efforts including rescuing horses on the battlefields of Europe during World War I and the efforts to save and shelter animals following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. American Humane Association’s Red Star program is an acknowledged leader in disaster preparedness and has also compiled and is offering to translate into Japanese a series of prevention tips to protect children, animals, families and communities from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other disasters.
our Red Star Rescue Rig
to Dr. Chizuko Yamaguchi
of the Tokyo
emergency relief shelter
On Valentine’s Day I paid a special visit to the Tokyo emergency relief shelter, where I had the chance to tour the facility and meet some of the beautiful, happy animals sheltered there and met with Dr. Chizuko Yamaguchi to discuss sheltering practices in Japan and how our organizations both worked to help the animals affected a year ago.
There is still so much that needs to be done all over the country to help those most in need. Stay tuned to my blog all week where I will have more stories, photos, and even a video or two of my trip. And though we’re a day ahead here in Japan, I want to wish all of you the very best on Valentine’s Day. Please help American Humane Association send a Valentine to the World by helping to support this relief effort.