Imagine having a child in Japan right now and not being able to reach him or her.
It’s happening to parents all across the globe as they frantically attempt to connect with family and friends who were in Japan when a devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck this morning.
A resulting tsunami – which is traveling at 500 miles per hour – has already hit the eastern coast of Japan where it reportedly swept away homes and people.
As Strollerderby reports, Hawaii is now seeing waves generated by the tsunami and has ordered evacuations. The tsunami is expected to hit the contiguous United States – from California to Oregon – between 11:00 to 11:30 am EST. People who live near the beach in Santa Barbara county are being warned to head toward higher ground.
But networks are being set up for those who are seeking to find out if loved ones have been affected by the disasters. The Red Cross is already mobilizing and has also set up ways in which family members can see if loved ones are okay.
Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225.
For inquiries about relatives living in Japan who are not US citizens, encourage the members of your community to keep calling or to try contacting other family members who live in the region. Even though communication networks overloaded right now, the situation may change and access to mobile networks and the internet may improve.
Google’s person-finder application allows users to input their names so people far away can know they’re safe, and also permits people to search to determine whether a person in the danger zone has posted a status update. The application can be found by clicking here.
The death toll is not yet known, but the good news is that despite spotty Internet and phone service, reports indicate that people Stateside are beginning to hear from their loved ones in the Pacific Rim.