You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

We asked refugees saved at sea: Who is the first person you want to call?

We asked refugees rescued from the Mediterranean Sea, “Who is the first person you want to call when you get to land?” And each one of them, without fail, had the same answer: “My mom.”

All over the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams help people—like the migrants aboard this ship—to reconnect with their loved ones through letters, emails, and phone calls. We believe giving families peace of mind is a critical part of disaster relief and recovery.

The migrants in this video nearly drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, but were rescued and cared for by the Red Cross Red Crescent and Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS). In search of safety and a better life, they had boarded rubber rafts and wooden boats that put them in grave danger. Last year alone, more than 5,000 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea as they attempted this journey. This year, the sea has already claimed more than 1,300 lives. Read more about the migration crisis here: What I heard in the middle of the Mediterranean in the middle of the night.

Many refugees displaced from their homes have been separated from their families. Through our free and confidential service, called Restoring Family Links, we work with people to search for and locate their loved ones.

The American Red Cross helps reconnect loved ones separated around the globe when:

  • Families have been separated internationally as a result of conflict, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergency.
  • Families have tried normal channels of communication to reconnect.
  • The family member making the inquiry is able to provide essential information on the sought person.
  • The family member making the inquiry is a relative, who had been in direct contact with the sought person before the crisis occurred.
  • To begin a search, contact your local Red Cross – the critical link in your community to the vast network of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. For program information and general inquiries use the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form or call our free national helpline at 844-782-9441.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.