Sunday, March 13, 2011

LatAm ”desaparecidos” in post-earthquake Japan

Thousands of people are still missing roughly sixty hours since a 9.0-magntude earthquake and subsequent tsunami battered Japan. Among those yet to be located are a number of individuals originally from Latin America:
  • Peru: Twenty-eight Peruvians living in Japan are missing according to ambassador Juan Carlos Capuñay. He declared that these people have yet to be classified as “disappeared” since they may be incommunicado and not dead. Yet with some of the families of an estimated 60,000 Peruvians residing in Japan worried about their loved ones, the ambassador emphasized that diplomats are relying on social networks in order to obtain information.
  • Mexico: At least thirty Mexicans are missing in the tsunami-ravaged Tohuku region according to the Mexican Embassy in Japan. Though there have yet to officially be any Mexican fatalities that figure could change depending on the fate of the missing people.
  • Chile: Chile’s Foreign Relations Minister, Alfredo Moreno, said today that the whereabouts of two Chileans in Japan is unknown. “Of the nine Chileans potentially residing the high-risk area (of Sendai) seven have been contacted… and they are all in good condition”, said Moreno to the local press. (On Saturday morning Moreno claimed that there were sixteen Chileans missing in Japan).
  • Colombia: Two Colombian families may be missing in Sendai according to a statement from the Colombian Embassy in Japan. The number of members of the missing families was not mentioned in the diplomatic cable.
100,000 Japanese troops have reportedly been involved in relief efforts while at least 69 countries have pledged to send rescue missions to the Asian country. Mexico’s elite Topos rescue brigade is ready to go to Japan as soon as Monday (assuming that air travel is resumed by then).

Image- Masatoshi Okauchi / Rex Features via The Guardian (“The earthquake and tsunami devastated many towns in Miyagi prefecture, where the police estimated that as many as 10,000 people may have died.”)
Online Sources- La Nacion, La Cuarta, CBC News,, RPP, Proceso, El Universal, El Espectador, Voice of America, Milenio

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