In war zones or disaster-stricken areas, one of the biggest and most distressing concerns of the victims is to locate and reunite with their loved ones. For the most vulnerable populations - the sick or disabled, the young and the elderly - fleeing dangerous situations can be stressful enough. However, the further uncertainty surrounding their family's fate can greatly affect their ability to cope with a crisis situation and their emotional trauma can deepen as the search for the missing family members drags on, often long after the crisis has ended.
Fortunately, the ICRC and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies work together all over the world to assist people separated from loved ones both in emergencies and in other situations, ensuring they are treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. This is done through a program called Restoring Family Links, or RFL.
RFL is made up of different activities and agents that allow separated individuals to get back in touch and put an end to the agony of not knowing the location of their family members. RFL connects families through telephone, Internet, hand-written letters, radio, or any other viable means of communication, depending on the circumstances. The resources allocated to RFL enable the Red Cross to provide these services free of charge, allowing even the most disadvantaged individuals to locate their missing loved ones.
For more information or assistance, visit the RFL website: familylinks.icrc.org