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How to find family, friends overseas during disasters

Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 18:08:49-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Massimo Bistocchi was born and raised in Perugia, Italy. The location is about 60 miles Southwest of Amatrice, where the devastating earthquake hit.

“First thing after I turned on the cell phone is text and text from people saying how’s your family?” said Bistocchi.

Thankfully, Bistocchi said he was able to contact his family right away.

“We were lucky because we felt the earthquake pretty strong but there was not real damage,” he said.

 Massimo Bistocchi and reporter Chelsea Rarrick.

Massimo Bistocchi and reporter Chelsea Rarrick.

While Massimo had no issues getting in touch with his loved ones, a viewer reached out to CBS 6 asking how others can reach family if they can’t get to them by phone or email.

“It’s a scary moment,” said Stella Capocelli-Carter, the president of Tour Plan International, a company that specializes in trips to Italy.

She recommends social media to find missing loved ones who may live there.

“Specifically Facebook, or the WhatsApp and the Viber app,” said Capocelli-Carter, “those are excellent because although the villages were hit, the people that have moved are now having access.”

For those there on vacation, Capocelli-Carter suggests going through a travel agent that booked the trip for information.

And if you plan to travel, she said you should register with the US Embassy in that country.

“If anything does happen and if loved ones want to get in touch with people, they can certainly reach out to the Embassy,” she said.

Italian scene.

Italian scene.