Since it began in 2003, the Darfur conflict has forced people to flee their villages to escape the violence. They are now scattered in towns and camps for the displaced within Darfur as well as in refugee camps across the border in Chad. They include hundreds of children thrust apart from their families in the chaos. Many of these children have survived only thanks to help from relatives and neighbours and are anxious to hear from their loved ones.
"Being suddenly separated from their families, and not knowing how to find them again, is extremely traumatizing for a child", says Thierry Ribaux, head of the ICRC delegation in Chad. To restore links within thousands of Darfuri families, the ICRC launched a large-scale information campaign on 2 July. Photos of 220 children under 12 years of age as well as the names of 449 other children have been posted in all camps for displaced people in Darfur, all refugee camps in Chad and several towns along the Sudan-Chad border.
The ICRC is encouraging people to look carefully at these names and photos and help children locate their families. Once a child has been recognized, ICRC offices begin the tracing procedure needed to restore contact and ultimately reunite him with his loved ones.
The Sudanese Red Crescent and the Red Cross of Chad are closely involved in this endeavour, supporting ICRC work with a network of hundreds of tracing officers and volunteers.
The ICRC strives worldwide to restore and maintain contact between members of families separated by armed conflicts and other situations of violence. In Africa alone, 545 individuals have been reunited with their families through ICRC services since the beginning of 2005.
For further information please contact:
Lorena Brander, ICRC Khartoum, tel. +249 9 121 377 64 or +249 1 83 476464/ 65/ 66
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC N'djamena, tel. +235 20 10 05 / 27 52 74
Marco Jiménez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 2271
or visit our website: www.icrc.org