Number of families separated by conflict, natural disasters at all time high - ICRC

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The number of families being separated by conflict, violence and natural disaster is at a five-year high, according to data from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

New cases of relatives contacting the organization looking to reunite with loved ones have increased by almost 90% over 2012-2016 with 18,000 new cases opened last year alone, the humanitarian organization said in a press statement on Monday.

However, the ICRC warns that this is just the tip of the iceberg, with a lack of accurate data collection meaning the number of families torn apart is likely to be much higher.

The warning coincides with the launch of a new Christmas campaign from the organization, which sees the distress of family separation brought to life in a powerful 1:31 minute film:

Using reconstructed CCTV-style footage of parents in a series of familiar settings, from crowded shops to the zoo, the film captures the panic of mums, dads, and grandparents momentarily losing sight of their children, and their frantic efforts to find them again.

The temporary separation is contrasted with the years of separation endured by thousands of families across the world along with some touching reunifications that have been facilitated by the ICRC.

The organization is calling for the public to share the video to help raise awareness and donate to support the vital work they are doing to help to ensure that families can be together during this special time, and all other days of the year, too.

“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," said Matt Clancy, ICRC spokesperson.

"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.” he said

“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. Moreover, in situations of armed conflicts, family reunification is a right under international law,” Clancy added

The ICRC is working to combat this issue by helping reunite family members. For over 100 years the ICRC, and its partners in the Red Cross Movement around the world, have been working to bring separated families back together again.

Sometimes this can be through a letter or a phone call and sometimes through a reunion like those featured in the video.
-0- PANA DJ/MA 11Nov2017

11 december 2017 20:35:33

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