Sunday, 13 March 2011

Rescue Dogs

After the previous post on the disastrous 9.0 earthquake in Japan this weekend, I found lots of photos of search and rescue teams with dogs. Again, the core Central Asian states are seriously underrepresented - please point me in the right direction if you are in the know. Above, a Japanese dog team is looking for survivors among the destruction at the tsunami-stricken northeast coast. You can see how big ships have been thrown ashore by the mighty waves. Photo by Kazuki Wakasugi. Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

A South Korean rescue dog team arrives in Japan, as seen in the previous post. Source: Reuters

An inhabitant of the town Kesennuma, which suffered terribly under the tsunami, carries his little sheltie. Source: Der Spiegel

Indonesia is another island nation frequently experiencing earthquakes. This photo is from Sumatra 2009. A man is taking several dogs out for a walk in the partly-destroyed city.

Search and rescue dogs arrived in Sumatra from all over the world.
Taiwanese rescue workers with a search and rescue dog assisted with the recovery of survivors in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year.

The Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad Nepal is the first-ever of its kind in the country. The squad's tasks include rescue operations at high altitudes and in deep jungles, after avalanches, floods, and serious traffic accidents. Since the project is so new and the working conditions are very difficult, there's a fundraising page with more information. The people involved in the project also run a caste-free school.

Ilya Zaslavski and search and rescue dog Perets arrived in Haiti 2010 from Russia. The Haiti earthquake struck a densely populated region with weak infrastructure, and recovery has been very difficult. The earthquake could inflict lasting damage on an already disadvantaged society, so we shouldn't forget about Haiti. The Red Cross has more information.

Speaking of Russia, I found a cute thread about rescue dog training in Russia by volunteers. If your dog likes to search for things and needs an interesting hobby, this could be a nice idea. Many of the more independent-minded breeds that tend to do naughty things when bored (such as shibas and terriers in the thread) are well suited for this kind of complex task.

Dogs that were injured in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake are being treated at a private shelter in Chengdu.

Rescue dog training in China: The People's Liberation Army tends towards rather showy exercises...

Jumping through fiery hoops... and the handler's arms.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Earthquakes in Asia

Japanese troops save an elderly man whose hometown has been destroyed by the Sendai earthquake and tsunami, magnitude 8.9, on 11. March 2011.

We have been following the news from Japan (live stream here:, and our thoughts go out to all the brave people, civilians and officials, who are doing their best to save lives in the greatest earthquake in recent Japanese history. Earthquakes happen all over the world, and we include here some photos of rescue operations during the last 5 years in Asia.

South Korean rescue workers and dogs arrive in Japan. Source: AFP

Source: Reuters. More images at (

In 2008, a devastating earthquake struck Sichuan Province in China. Here, the famous pandas of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding are being rescued.

The toll on human life was much greater. At least 68,000 people were killed in the 8.0 Ms quake centered on Wenchuan County on 12 May 2008.

Rescue workers help an elderly man.

In contrast to the numerous photos from Japan and China, it is slightly more challenging to find material from the Central Asian countries that have also been suffering from earthquakes during the last decade. These countries have also received less news coverage, globally. Above, rescue workers from the Kyrgyzstan Red Crescent Society pose for a group photo in the Alai region of Osh City in 2008. The town Nura and the village Kura were completely destroyed in the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that was felt in in Tajikistan and Xinjang Uighur as well.

Unicef specialist Yang Zhenbo among schoolkids in Sichuan after the earthquake 2008. (Source: Unicef)

And life goes on. See Claudia Janke's impressive photo series after the earthquake in Pakistan 2005. People rebuild their homes and even have time for a quick smile in spite of their difficult circumstances. But healing takes time and comes with a heavy cost - that's why international mutual help and aid always will be necessary.

EDIT: In 2010, the Yushu earthquake hit the Tibetan plateau with a magnitude of 7.1 Ms. Don't miss these images of Tibetan monks as rescue workers.

(The comparison is pretty pathetic, but Ainur has only experienced one "real" earthquake in her life and can only marvel at the survival stories above. Please correct any mistakes you can spot in this post, as it was written in a great hurry and emotional turmoil.)