(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) - Government agencies and Google are helping people search forfriends and loved ones who may have been affected by the 8.9magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan Friday.
People concerned about the safety of friends and familytraveling overseas can take steps such as trying to regularlyphone, text or email the people and their traveling companions.
They can also check with other family members to see if theyhave heard from anyone or contact their travel agent or airline toget details on their travel arrangements.
The U.S. Department of State can help pass messages tomissing Americans. Its
People can also check with local authorities to see if there arereports of citizens hospitalized, arrested or otherwise unable tocommunicate. Circumstances dictate whether consular officers canpersonally search for people.
Citizens in Japan can reach the state department in an emergencyby e-mailing JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov . Citizens overseascan call the state department at 1-202-501-4444.
Google in response to the crisis has launched a Person Finder tool, available in both Englishand Japanese, to help victims and families locate each other.People can either state they are looking for someone or that theyhave information about someone.
As of 10:45 a.m. EST the Google's person finder logged 7,200records. Google created a similar tool after a large quake struckChili in February 2010.
A Google Crisis Response page is also availablewith information about the earthquake and related tsunami. The pagehas maps and updated news.
A Facebook page for sharing information people hasalso been set up at facebook.com/JapanEarthquake
Mashable reported that 1,200 Tweets were comingout of Tokyo per minute.
Tech blog CNet listed a variety of online resources forquake info. Ways to reach loved ones living in Japan include NTT Docomo Safety Response , set up by amobile-phone provider to allow users to input a loved one’smobile phone number into a search, and KDDI Disaster Message Board .
The message board allows users to place messages on its serviceto find out about a loved one’s condition. Their safety canbe confirmed through a mobile phone or PC.
The Softbank Message Board works the same way.
The American Red Cross has a similar tool called " Safe and Well ." People in a disaster zone canregister themselves as safe and well. Those searching can scan thelist by clicking on the "search registrants" button.
The Red Cross urges people to continue searching asvictims may register once they reach a shelter. People searchingcannot register on the Red Cross site.
To search either a pre-disaster phone number, either home, workor cell, or a complete home address is needed.
If a loved one has a serious, pre-existing health or mentalhealth condition it is possible to initiate an EmergencyInformation Request by calling a local Red Cross chapter or1-800-RED-CROSS.
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