Monday, January 29, 2001

Red Cross worker aids quake recovery

Team will try to reunite Indian families

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Cincinnati man leaves today for India to assist in that country's recovery from a catastrophic earthquake.

        Vincent Costello, international services director at the Cincinnati Area American Red Cross, is one of three Americans who will travel overseas as part of a larger team tracing and linking families.

        The team will help the Indian Red Cross reunite families in the aftermath of Friday's quake that may have killed as many as 30,000 people, according to reports Sunday.

        Mr. Costello was in Columbus late Sunday night preparing for the trip.

        He said the team eventually will try to set up a system in which family members can make inquiries about loved ones.

        During the Kosovo conflict, Mr. Costello did the same type of work.

        “We actually brought in cell phones that had worldwide capability,” he said. “We hope the same kind of technology will be used in India.”

        Mr. Costello has been with the American Red Cross for 27 years and has worked in the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Hugo, the Oakland Hills fires and Hurri cane Andrew.

        “The first thing people think of when they hear of a disaster is, "How is my family?' and "Can I reach them, are they OK?'

        “We can bring that link to families separated.

        “The quicker we're able to do that the sooner it puts their minds at ease,” Mr. Costello said.

        Updated information about conditions in India is available by calling the Cincinnati Area American Red Cross at 579-3955.

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