International Reconnecting Families Bulletin: Japan Earthquake

Photo credit: Taro Karibe, Getty Images

Photo credit: Taro Karibe, Getty Images

Two major earthquakes that have struck the Kyushu island of Japan – within a span of two days – have left at least 32 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and dozens missing. The first earthquake, of magnitude 6.5, struck on Thursday, April 14, 21:26 local time, resulting in at least nine people dead and 800 injured.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the epicenter of the quake was in the Kumamoto Prefecture with a depth of 11 kilometers.  Local authorities continue to distribute relief goods. The Government has started to distribute additional food items to cover 900,000 meals, sufficient to meet needs for three days. The Japanese Red Cross Society has deployed twelve emergency medical teams to affected areas to provide emergency medical assistance and manage the distribution of relief items.

If you or someone you know are trying to contact a family member affected by the earthquake, the American Red Cross can help. To begin your search, please contact your local American Red Cross chapter. You can also submit an inquiry online through the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form or by calling 202-303-1600. 

In addition to this, the Japanese Red Cross has also suggested checking services provided by the private sector such as Google person finder and j-anpi. It is also highly advised that you continue trying to contact your loved ones via phone, text, email or social media. Remember, calling during off-peak hours may help to get through clogged phone lines. You may also want to consider contacting other family members or neighbors who live nearby or may also be concerned about the sought person.

If your inquiry concerns a U.S. citizen, please also contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 (from the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from overseas) or online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies.html.

For more information on the reconnecting families work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies.

International Reconnecting Families Bulletin: Ecuador Earthquake

Residents walk Monday past a row of buildings felled by Saturday night's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Photo credit: Rodrigo Abd, Associated Press

Residents walk Monday past a row of buildings felled by Saturday night's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Photo credit: Rodrigo Abd, Associated Press

On April 16, 2016 at 6:58pm local time, an earthquake registering 7.8 magnitude struck off Ecuador’s northwest coast at a depth of 20 kilometers, causing widespread damage. The epicenter of the quake was about 27 kilometers from the northwestern town of Muisne and 170 kilometers from Quito.  

As of April 18, 2016, more than 300 people have been confirmed dead, more than 2,600 people injured.  These figures are expected to continue to rise as assessments teams gain access to remote affected areas.   

Affected populations are Ecuadorians and Colombians living in the northern part of the country. The Restoring Family Links (RFL) response aims to help those affected in Ecuador and abroad, to inquire about their family members and ensure they are okay.

The Ecuadorian Red Cross (ERC) has RFL teams in the areas most hit by the earthquake. It is undertaking an evaluation but has not yet assessed all affected areas so RFL needs may increase. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is providing support through the deployment of two RFL specialists.

The Colombian Red Cross has also activated its RFL services accordingly.

If you or someone you know are trying to contact a family member affected by the earthquake, the American Red Cross can help. To begin your search, please contact your local American Red Cross chapter. You can also submit an inquiry online through the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form or by calling 202-303-1600. 

If your inquiry concerns a U.S. citizen, please also contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 (from the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from overseas) or online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies.html

In addition to submitting an inquiry through the Red Cross, it is highly advised that you continue trying to contact your loved ones via phone, text, email or social media. Remember, calling during off-peak hours may help to get through clogged phone lines. You may also want to consider contacting other family members or neighbors who live nearby or may also be concerned about the sought person

For more information on the reconnecting families work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies.

International Reconnecting Families Bulletin: Cyclone Winston in Fiji

Debris is scattered around damaged buildings at Nakama settlement in Fiji, after Cyclone Winston tore through the island nation. Photo credit: AP.

Debris is scattered around damaged buildings at Nakama settlement in Fiji, after Cyclone Winston tore through the island nation. Photo credit: AP.

Fiji sustained significant damage due to the passage of Cyclone Winston on Saturday, February 20th. Reports have indicated that there were sustained winds of over 180 mph (290 kph), with torrential rains and waves of up to 40 ft (12m). Initial damage and impact assessments are underway by the national authorities and by the Red Cross with various updates confirming that entire villages have been destroyed and massive destruction along the storm's path due to extensive rain, and flooding. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross' Family Linking website has been activated in response to this disaster.  The website is currently available in English. Through this website you can 1) Search through the list of missing persons and people who have responded that they are alive; 2) Register names of persons with whom you have lost contact; and 3) Register names of persons who wish to inform others that they are alive.

The website provides a form through which you can register, which is submitted to the Red Cross. Names will not automatically appear on the lists in the website. The names which people wish to make public will need to be processed by the Red Cross first, which is continuously updating the lists.

If you or someone you know are trying to contact a family member affected by the Cyclone, you can begin your search by going to familylinks.icrc.org/fiji.

If your inquiry concerns a U.S. citizen, please also contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 (from the United States and Canada) or +1-202-501-4444 (from overseas) and http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies.html

For more information on the reconnecting families work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies.

International Reconnecting Families Bulletin: Flooding in India

Flooding in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in India, have resulted in significant humanitarian needs. The flood crisis currently unfolding in the southeast of India for the past few weeks is now taking a high toll on Tamil Nadu (especially its capital Chennai) and Andhra Pradesh States: airports are closed, 200 people are reported dead, 100,000 displaced.

The Indian Red Cross Society is closely coordinating with Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh State Branches.  However, due to heavy flooding, the branches staff and volunteers are not yet able to access many places.

If you or someone you know are trying to contact a family member affected by the flooding, the American Red Cross can help. To begin your search, please contact your local American Red Cross chapter. You can also submit an inquiry online through the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form or by calling 202-303-1600. 

If your inquiry concerns a U.S. citizen, please also contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 (from the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from overseas) or online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies.html

For more information n the reconnecting families work of the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies