Valley man heads to Japan to bring family home

FRESNO, Calif.

The Rivera family is calling the trip a rescue mission. Their relatives in Japan are safe. But, with the constant nuclear threat and aftershocks, they desperately want to come home.

"Right now, it's all hands on deck," Nicholas Rivera said. "Everybody needs to come together."

Rivera is preparing for his trip to a potentially dangerous part of Japan. He'll be going to Yokohama which is just outside of Tokyo.

He and his nephew, Severo Ochoa, plan to leave Fresno on Monday. Their main mission is to bring Severo's wife, Anna, and their 3-year-old daughter, Annamarie, home.

"The baby wants her daddy and she wants her husband," Rivera said. "She's just really afraid."

Anna and the baby have been in Japan for six months. Anna is caring for her elderly parents. Rivera told Action News that Anna and Annamarie were at a zoo in Yokohama when the earthquake struck.

"I couldn't sleep after that," said Marie Ochoa, Severo's mother. "I was so worried about them, about the two of them."

Marie said she cannot wait to see her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. "I keep telling [Severo], we have to go get them, we have to bring them home," Marie said.

Meanwhile, Rivera, a former Marine and trained rescuer, said while in Japan he and Severo will do all they can to help the victims left living in the rubble.

"We can assist at any of the evacuation centers, whether it be handing out food and water," Rivera said. "Whatever it takes."

Rivera plans to be in the quake-ravaged area for about two weeks. His trip, he said, is partially being funded by gifts from friends and family.

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