Activity Report (May-August 2016, Fukushima)

Activity Report (May-August 2016, Fukushima)
We spent time in Futaba and Okuma, rescuing cats with local residents
Back in April, we were able to rescue two cats in the no-entry zone. They were sisters. This is now a dust-covered ghost town, and the residential area is now piled high with black garbage bags containing contaminated soil.
The government has purchased the homes (so far about 30%) along the coastline in Futaba, Okuma and Tomioka, and is using the land as a place to store the bags of irradiated soil. The properties are now marked as being under the administration of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. Futaba is home to many old buildings, and many have been left in the same condition as they were in after the disaster. Our surveillance cameras tell us that there are cats in the area, but so far we have been unable to rescue them, so we leave food for them.
 We have learned that a new village will be created in the Ogawara district of Okuma for nuclear plant workers and elderly citizens of the area. Even the roads inside the no-entry zone are now open to traffic in order to bring in necessary supplies. A security gate blocks off the road that leads to the homes in this area. We noticed a cat in this abandoned convenience store and attempted rescue but were unsuccessful. 
The five-hour time window doesn’t give us nearly enough time to rescue cats. 
Over in Namie, Tsushima and Nagadoro (located in Iitatemura) radioactive contamination is a serious problem. 
While the old days of carefree living in nature are gone forever, we are starting to see signs of life and recovery when we return to our old homes for a visit. People want to come back here and spend a little time. One family went to the trouble of creating a watering area, even though they come only occasionally. This allows us to clean our cat feeding stations. 
Some return home during the summer memorial holiday to pay respects at the family grave. A local ward mayor continued his dairy farming even after being moved to the evacuation zone; he hasn’t missed a day of work. The animals are undoubtedly grateful, and we were moved by his strength and kindness despite all he has been through.
These beautiful montain villages have been irrevocably changed, but the hearts of those who lived here and love this place remain. 

English by Judy Howland 

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