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Twelve Okinawans still unaccounted for in N.O. Hurricane Katrina disaster

Date Posted: 2005-09-17

A Ginoza Village woman is alive and well following the massive hurricane that battered the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts late last month, but others are still missing.

Katsuko Kaspen, 60, and her husband have been located at a friend’s home in Alabama, where she says “I had gotten used to hurricanes, but this time Katrina was awful. It was really scary.” She told relatives here “All houses are gone. I was lucky that I could escape from home and survive while a lot of people are dying.” Kaspen said her New Orleans neighbors were also Okinawan, but she has no idea what happened to them.

Okinawa Prefecture has actively begun a search for citizens living in the disaster area. At least 16 were known to have been in the Louisiana city, and officials here say they cannot account for 12 of them. Prefecture leaders are asking anyone with knowledge of Okinawans in the affected zone to please call with information. They say many are presumed safe and in shelters, but the lack of communications is making getting information difficult.

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