I’m taking a departure from my normal travel adventures to ask for your help. We sometimes have a tendency to push tragedies out of our minds, dismissing them as having happened so far away that they really don’t impact us. We are compassionate, certainly, but we don’t really do much of anything. Today I had a vivid reminder of just how small the world is when I received an email from a friend of mine who lives on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where I lived for nearly 11 years. He informed me that mutual acquaintances of ours, Andy and Jean Anderson, are searching for their daughter, Taylor, who hasn’t been seen since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.
Taylor is living in Japan, teaching American culture to children in Mangokuura Elementary School in the town of Ishinomaki, which was virtually ground zero for the tsunami. She has not been heard from since the earthquake despite a previous erroneous report that she was found. The State Department is now engaged in the search and there is still hope that Taylor will be found, as many parts of the area are still physically cut off. However, resources are too few and search and rescue teams are confronted with an environment than we cannot imagine. To make matters worse, cell communication is spotty and satellite phones are desperately needed.
The United States currently has American Disaster Assistance Rescue Teams (DART) on the ground but they are not assisting with the search and rescue operations. The Andersons are asking that we all contact our Senators and Congressman and deliver a message that the State Department needs to deploy the necessary resources to find Taylor and any other American still unaccounted for in Japan.
Andy and Jean know this is a long shot, but are trying desperately to pursue every option to find their daughter. If you know anyone in the area or have any thoughts on what to do, please let them know by leaving a comment on this blog. They will be monitoring it. We all thank you for whatever you can do to assist, even if it just prayers or a few phone calls.
Update: Sadly, it was subsequently confirmed that Taylor was one of the many victims of the Tsunami. My heart and prayers go out to her family and the many people who loved her.