By Mary O’KEEFE & Brandon HENSLEY
The vibrations of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami have resonated here in the United States as local folks wait to hear how friends and family abroad are faring in the aftermath of the disaster.
Erika Suzuki was a member of the executive board of the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition before going off to college at Berkley University. She has been online since hearing of the earthquake in Japan trying to find any information she can about her loved ones who live there. She is breathing a little more easily after finding that her grandparents, aunt and uncle and most of her cousins are safe.
She also worried about friends in northern California. “I have friends in Santa Cruz that said the waves were big and a few boats had broken away but it wasn’t too bad,” she said.
Suzuki continues to monitor the aftermath of the earthquake on Facebook and other social networking systems.
There are a few websites that can help those attempting to get information about loved ones in Japan. The Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles can be contacted for up to date information. Visit www.la.us.emb-japan.go.jp. There is a direct link to a website specifically for inquiring about Japanese residents for those who speak Japanese only. For those who do not speak Japanese all inquiries are being directed to the state department.
“The Embassy in Tokyo is closed and [those contacting the embassy] are being directed to the state department,” said a Consulate-General of Japan in L.A. spokeswoman.
For information in English visit http://japan.usembassy.gov. On the right column will be Earthquake Information; click on State Department website or call (888) 407-4747 or (202) 501-4444.
The Red Cross has launched efforts to help aid Japan in its crisis. Those who wish to help can go to redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.
The Salvation Army is also helping out. People can text JAPAN or Quake to 80888 or visit salvationarmyusa.org.
Google has launched a people finder engine, similar to the one it did for the Haiti earthquake. Here, at http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en, people can find those they are looking for or type in information they may have about the earthquake.