An international search is underway for Irish toddler Aisling Symes who was snatched in New Zealand this week.

Devastated parents Alan and Angela Symes made an emotional appeal for the safe return of their two-year-old daughter who disappeared Monday.

Alan Symes, from County Waterford in Ireland, said: "We're really stressed and grieving. We don't understand how this could have happened.

"There are no clues - little Aisling could be just a few streets nearby or she could be on the other side of the country by now.

The toddler was playing with her five-year-old sister Caitlin in the Auckland neighborhood of Henderson when she went missing.

Poignantly, a neighbor has since reported that she heard Aisling - whose family nickname is Splashling - giggling at some ducklings.

Aisling was wearing blue jeans embroidered with flowers and a green jacket when she was last seen.

Her father Alan said the past few days have been "the most harrowing of our lives."

"No sleep. It's been like we're barely existing, surviving every moment not knowing where Aisling is," he said.

"Is she near us? Is she being treated well?"

New Zealand police say they want to talk to an Asian woman in her 30s who was seen talking to Aisling before she disappeared.

Aisling's uncle, David Ball, said the family was struggling to keep going. He said Alan was "typically a stoic Irishman" but "he has been breaking down a lo."

The case eerily echoes the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann who disappeared in May 2007 while on holiday with her family in Portugal.

Madeleine has never been found and her disappearance highlighted fears that international kidnappers may have grabbed her.