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Quake aid, pet predictions

by Ashley Thompson

Reader D.C. recommends the Japan Chernobyl Foundation as a charity for victims of the earthquake and nuclear disaster. He writes:

“For 20 years, JCF has specialized in providing medical aid to radiation disaster victims, with a special emphasis on helping children. It is a reputable charitable organization and one of only a small number of nonprofit organizations granted official NPO status by the Japanese National Tax Agency.

“More complete information, including an explanation of how a portion of contributions may qualify as a tax- deductible gift in Japan, is available on JCF’s Japanese-language page. English-language information is also available.

Interested in volunteering?

At this time, most organizations are still not accepting volunteers; however, there are a few looking for assistance, including volunteers from overseas. Keep in mind you will most likely need to provide your own transportation to Japan and to the organization’s base, and also may be required to take care of your own meals and lodging arrangements (e.g. tents in the affected areas) wherever you go. Please check each organization’s website for details and contact information.

Peace Boat is accepting volunteers to provide meals and help at evacuation sites, and they are also requesting help to transport relief supplies to the Tohoku region. Crash Japan needs drivers with trucks to transport supplies.

Jhelp is looking for anyone able to help on site in the Sendai area.

HOPE International Development Agency is accepting volunteers in the Nagoya area — please contact for more information.

Habitat for Humanity is planning long-term relief work. They particularly want to recruit volunteers living in Japan, but those outside of Japan may be considered as well.

A website recently set up called Japan Volunteers has been listing information about donations and volunteering, including links to some of the organizations above, among several others.

As mentioned previously, if you are in Japan, you can also check out a spreadsheet (in English) of Prefectural Volunteer Organizations (thanks to AJET, Smile Kids Japan). Note that not all PVOs are accepting volunteers, and for many, some level of Japanese-language ability may be required. Contact Avalyn Beare or Michael Maher King at volunteer@ajet.net with general inquiries.

If you know of any other organizations not listed here and currently accepting volunteers, please let us know.

Reader P.S. writes: “Dr. Rupert Sheldrake (a U.K.-based biologist/author) is researching animal earthquake prediction. Did anyone notice any strange behavior before the tragic events of the earthquake and tsunami?” I asked some folks on Twitter if they noticed anything strange about their pets prior to the quake, and here is what they had to say:

@kimnsin: “Everyone says that [animals behave strangely before earthquakes or other disasters], but [my dog] didn’t act any different beforehand. Last night, he was asleep just like me.”

@jgtokyo: “No, my cat and I looked at each other in fright at exactly the same time when the earthquake hit Tokyo. But now she’s very unsettled.”

@Step_Learning: “During the big quake one cat was growling. Last night they both were staring at the doors before the doors started shaking.”

@innocencewalker: “My friend, @pixiebell, said, ‘My dog didn’t act any different before or during the quake …’ She was in Tokyo.”

@inspiringthedawn: “No, our two cats were woken by the shaking but didn’t move from their respective corners of the sofa. They sat up and looked around and at me while the shaking lasted but otherwise seemed unperturbed.”

If your pet(s) acted strangely before the earthquake and tsunami, you can e-mail your story to pam@telepet.demon.co.uk.

Ashley Thompson writes survival tips and unique how-tos about living in Japan at www.survivingnjapan.com. Send all your questions to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp