Momentarily losing sight of a child can be a terrifying experience. Losing a child for years—almost unfathomable.
But for thousands of families around the world, separation is a reality they wake up to every single day. The number of families separated by conflict, violence and natural disaster is at a five-year high.
This year alone, 18,000 families contacted the global Red Cross Red Crescent network in search of loved ones. That leaves us with a caseload of 74,000 families looking to reunite with loved ones.
“The pain of losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, but for families affected by conflict, violence or natural disaster it is a stark reality that can last for years. Conflict is becoming increasingly protracted and the world is currently seeing the largest movement of people since the Second World War: these factors are increasing the risk of families losing contact,” said Matt Clancy, from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who produced the chilling video above.
The global Red Cross Red Crescent network is combatting this issue by helping reunite family members. For more than 100 years, we have brought separated families back together again. Sometimes this can be through a letter or a phone call and sometimes through reunions like those featured in the video.
“Reuniting families is as important to the humanitarian mission as providing food or shelter or water. It is about restoring people’s dignity and reconnecting them with the people they love,” asserts Clancy. “Moreover, in situations of armed conflicts, family reunification is a right under international law.”
Cases of missing women and children have skyrocketed over the past five years. More than 15,000 children have been reported missing to the global Red Cross Red Crescent network—that’s nearly triple the number of cases received in 2012.
Those looking for loved ones separated by conflict, war, migration, or natural disaster may be able to receive help from the Red Cross. To begin a search, contact your local Red Cross chapter—the critical link in your community to the global Red Cross Red Crescent network. You can also call our free national helpline at 844-782-9441 or use the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form.
Last fiscal year, the American Red Cross helped nearly 9,400 family members to search for loved ones who were separated during international conflicts and disasters.