THE family of missing Leeton school teacher Mark Ciavarella say they are holding out hope he will be found alive.
Mr Ciavarella has been missing in Africa for the last fortnight, with his last known contact with family members late last month.
His family were only alerted to his disappearance 10 days after it is believed he went missing from Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of the Congo in Africa.
Mr Ciavarella had been living and working there as an English teacher for the past six years.
His cousin, Nick Ciavarella, spoke with The Irrigator on November 9, saying the family continues to hold out hope the energetic and creative Mr Ciavarella will be found alive and well.
"That's all we can do, we have to have that hope," Nick said.
"We're all trying to help Darren (Mark's brother) out as much as we can. I think everyone feels pretty hopeless being so far away. We're doing what families do in the hopes it will all work out.
"At the same time, the signs do point to something terrible having happened."
The Australian Consulate and the federal government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been alerted to Mr Ciavarella's disappearance, with another family member working closely to provide them with as much information and detail as possible to assist in locating him.
The Italian Consulate in Brazzaville is also assisting as our local authorities.
Mr Ciavarella's family were sent a video on his WhatsApp account that showed an African man last week. The sender has made no further contact.
Nick said the feeling of helplessness is hard, but the family is working hard to locate Mr Ciavarella by all available means.
Mr Ciavarella grew up in Leeton and was a talented sports star on the athletics track at school, as well as in the pool as a diver later on in life.
However, it was his passion and talent in the creative arts realm he is most known for, particularly during his time teaching at Leeton High School and St Francis College.
Nick said he appreciates all of the support the Leeton community has been giving his family and urged everyone to keep sharing news of his disappearance online.
"It is the one percenters that may end up being the difference, you never know," he said.
A statement to The Irrigator from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was providing assistance in relation to Mr Ciavarella's disappearance.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is working with the Italian Embassy in Brazzaville to provide consular assistance to the family of an Australian man reported missing in the Republic of the Congo," a department spokesman said.
"Owing to our privacy obligations, we are unable to provide further comment."
The federal government's Smart Traveller website currently advises Australian residents to "reconsider your need to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo overall due to the volatile security situation and high risk of kidnapping".
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