Grieving father thanks quake search teams

10:30 am on 4 March 2011

The father of an English-language student who may have lost her life in the collapsed CTV building is expressing his heartfelt thanks for the unremitting efforts of search and rescue staff.

The man has released a letter addressed to the people of New Zealand and Japan.

In the letter, he says his daughter was at the school in order to fulfil her ambition of becoming a medical worker able to work globally, and he has come to New Zealand hoping for a slim chance of her survival.

The man says he's now witnessed the dedication of all involved in the rescue and recovery operation, including local authorities and staff from the Japanese consulate in Christchurch.

The full text

"To the people of New Zealand and Japan:

"My daughter was involved in the earthquake disaster while studying English in Christchurch in order to fulfil her ambition of becoming a medical worker able to work globally. I have come to New Zealand hoping for a slim chance of her survival, but she has not been found and the situation seems desperate. It was such a consolation for me to have met you who helped and cooperated with us, the families of the victims, with such warm hospitality and encouragement. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to you all.

"Here in Christchurch, I have seen how the people and the government of New Zealand have come together to work to rescue the victims immediately after the earthquake occurred and the government proclaimed a state of emergency. Having witnessed your dedication with my own eyes, I now understand why my daughter decided to study in Christchurch, 5600 miles far from my country.

"Meanwhile. the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Japan in New Zealand, and the Consulate in Christchurch have been coordinating their collective efforts to cope with this situation and supporting the families of the victims. I am impressed and thankful for their painstaking efforts even when the families sometimes become impatient and demanding.

"The agent that introduced my daughter to the language school in Christchurch has been supporting us by keeping in touch 24 hours a day, updating news every 1 to 2 hours, and continuously cheering us up. My daughters' friends have also encouraged us by every possible means. Since arriving in Christchurch, many volunteers have been providing us with empathetic care. Staff members dispatched from the agent have been with the families, sympathetically listening to us and supporting us even when we lose ourselves in worry. The media staff members understand the feelings of the families of the victims well, and are reporting the central issues of the disaster. Even though my daughter has not been rescued yet, I think she is really lucky and happy because she is supported by so very many kind-hearted people.

"Most of all, I am overwhelmed with gratitude toward the rescue teams from various countries, who have been engaged in the relief activities with their high technical capability and noble-minded motivation. I sincerely hope that those who are engaged in the relief effort will not be involved in secondary disasters.

"I thank you all again for your unremitting efforts and unceasing empathy, which we will remember forever."