The fact is that we know where Zoë is. She's no doubt where she was before Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu. She's with her host family and volunteer buddy Courtney, at Level School near Namaram on the island of Pentecost. Zoë isn't missing; she's unaccounted for and there's a big difference.
We heard from her last on Thursday 12th March. The cyclone hit on Friday. Zoë's messages told us that there was no point in being scared, that they were ready for the weather and that a rat had chewed her sandals.
Unless you've been living a hermit lifestyle you'll know that the cyclone was a lot worse that expected. In fact apparently it was the worst ever. Vanuatu's capital and southern areas seem to have been hit the hardest.
And now we wait. Communications are down and no-one has been to Pentecost yet to have a look. We are aware of some flyovers and perhaps one group on the way but there's nothing to report yet.
Sadly, our experience with DFAT hasn't been what we expected. We've had to hassle them to see if there is any information. I know that they're busy and they have a lot to do but this is kind of their bread and butter you'd think. Having them tell Alison that even if they located Zoë that they wouldn't tell us was shattering. The next person she spoke to at DFAT told her the opposite. Whatever, if you find her just hand her a SatPhone or take a photo so that we know she's alive. UPDATE: we now have a case worker, regular updates and an apology about how it's been handled.
I can't imagine Zoë wanting to come home any time soon. She's the kind of young woman who will want to help her host village and family. Hopefully it is safe and practical for her to do so.
To answer a few people, no, we're not heading straight to Vanuatu. Alison had a knee replacement a week or so ago and she can't even walk up the driveway. And what would I do when I got there? Get in the way and be another mouth to feed. We'll let the aid agencies and government do their work; they are the experts and we are eternally thankful for anything that they can do. I should point out that the Lattitude organisation that Zoë is there with have been great. Yes, it's their job too but I can't imagine something like this happens to them every day. Their in-country guy has lost everything.
Thank you to everyone who has liked Facebook posts, commented, retweeted stuff, sent emails and also texts. We appreciate it more than you can imagine.
Liz Burke at news.com.au - thank you for your work and for taking the positive slant on the whole situation that we wanted. There are 19 young people out there as well as the whole population of Vanuatu who need our support.
Keep channeling those good vibes towards Vanuatu and if you can spare a few dollars for one of the charities working there please do so.
Rob (a Dad so proud of his kids that he could almost burst).