14 September 2001
World Trade Center Tragedy Hits All Nationalities
(Terrorism is a crime against all humanity, Powell says) (910)
By Jane A. Morse
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- American families are not alone in grieving for loved
ones lost in the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center
September 11. The attacks have personally affected the citizens of
many countries who had friends and family working in the two landmark
towers in New York City.
"Terrorism is a crime against all civilization," said Secretary of
State Colin Powell. "Terrorism is a crime against all humanity. It
knows no ethnic, religious or other national or geographic boundaries,
and we must see it in that context."
During a press briefing September 13, Powell expressed his sympathies
to families overseas who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks.
"We are focusing, of course, on Americans," he acknowledged, "but we
have also seen that Great Britain thinks they've lost 100 people. I've
heard from Australians, Japanese, South Koreans, Mexicans, Irish
nationals, Israelis and many others who worked in this World Trade
Center, and our sympathy goes to not only these victims, who will be
in our prayers, but our sympathies go to their families."
An estimated 50,000 people worked in the World Trade Center. Built in
1970, it encompassed a cluster of six buildings, including the twin
110-story towers. The Center housed more than 430 companies from 28
countries. More than 140,000 people visited the complex each day.
Most of the companies were engaged in commercial activities such as
banking and finance, insurance, transportation, imports and exports.
Trade associations, brokerages, and representatives of foreign
governments also had their offices there.
The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial published September 14,
noted, "the victims were global, like the commerce in the twin towers
The final death count probably will not be known for weeks, as
emergency workers continue to sift through the mountains of rubble for
remains. But Rudolph Giuliani, the Mayor of New York City, estimates
that more than 4,700 people of all nationalities are missing.
In the meantime, press stories are coming in, but the numbers reported
of dead and missing sometimes vary widely.
According to a Cable News Network (CNN) report September 13, Japan
reports that 100 nationals are still unaccounted for; two are believed
to have been airline passengers. Some 31 Japanese companies had firms
housed in the World Trade Center towers.
The Wall Street Journal reported on September 13 that the U.S. unit of
Fuji Bank Ltd., which was on floors 70 through 82 of the South Tower,
could not account for 680 employees. That building was struck between
floors 87 and 93 by United Airlines Flight 175, a hijacked Boeing 767.
The tower collapsed less than an hour after being hit at 9:05 A.M.
Eastern Daylight Time.
Yet some Japanese employees were lucky. The Asahi Bank Ltd., for
example, had offices on the 60th floor of the North Tower, the first
building attacked by hijackers who had taken over another Boeing 767.
The fuel-laden plane exploded when it crashed into the area between
the 96th and 103rd floors at 8:45 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time. An
official for Asahi Bank told The Washington File that all 94
employees, of whom 23 were Japanese citizens, were able to escape the
building before it collapsed less than two hours after being hit.
The Bank of Taiwan had 98 employees on the 53rd floor of the North
Tower. Nine are reported missing, according to an official with the
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United
States who spoke to The Washington File September 13.
Acting Australian Prime Minister John Anderson told CNN that three
Australian citizens who had died had been on one of the Boston planes
that crashed into the twin towers. The Australian government is trying
to confirm whether an additional six Australians had been on the
plane. About 75 are still missing.
The Washington, D.C. Embassy for the Republic of Korea has confirmed
that as of September 13 three Korean citizens are confirmed to be dead
and 19 are still missing.
People's Daily reported that three Chinese citizens were confirmed
dead and one is reported missing.
Theresa Lazaro, the deputy consul for the Philippines in New York,
said the "conservative estimate" is that there were 500 Filipinos
working in the World Trade Center. As of September 14, the only
information the consulate has is that 14 are missing, she told The
Boonsom Watanatanee, deputy consul general for Thailand's consulate in
New York, told The Washington File that two Thai nationals are known
to be missing. But she added that the Thai consulate is still unsure
of the total number of Thai nationals that may have been working at
the World Trade Center the day of the tragedy.
Tsviya Shimon, minister of administrative affairs for the Israeli
consulate and mission in New York, told The Washington File that there
might have been up to 100 Israeli citizens working in the World Trade
Center. To date, only two are known to be missing, she said. One of
them, Shimon reported, managed to call his wife on his cell phone to
tell her he was injured, but there has been no word from him since.
The magnitude of the World Trade Center tragedy will continue to
unfold as consulates and embassies work to get exact figures for the
number of their nationals that escaped or perished in the deadliest
terrorist attack in U.S. history.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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