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Many Pets Still Homeless in Wake of Japanese Nuclear Disaster

While the tsunami disaster in Japan caused a great tragedy for the country’s human inhabitants, the tales of the animals left behind remain almost untold. After evacuation, many animals were left in the Fukushima exclusion zone. They have been forced to survive freezing temperatures, starvation and radiation and what little help there is has been spread thin over hundreds of animals.

Yasunori Hoso, who runs a shelter for about 350 rescued dogs and cats told Reuters that “If left alone, tens of them will die everyday. Unlike well-fed animals that can keep themselves warm with their own body fat, starving ones will just shrivel up and die.”

The United Kennel Club Japan near Tokyo has reportedly rescued 250 dogs and 150 cats from the exclusion zone and contacted 80 percent of their owners.

Naoto Matsumura, a life-long resident of a town within the exclusion zone, refused to evacuate last March and has been helping Fukushima’s abandoned animals. He told CNN, “I refuse to leave and let go of this anger and grief. I weep when I see my hometown. The government and the people in Tokyo don’t know what’s really happening here.”

CNN reports that Matsumura, a farmer, was able to feed his own livestock until neighborhood cats and dogs began turning up in search of food. Not wanting to let the animals die, he snuck out of the exclusion zone to buy cat and dog food.

Weeks turned into months and now nearly a year. Conditions are growing worse by the day, says Matsumura.

Watch a video of a Reuters report below: