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Rwanda: nearly 8,000 children reunited with their families

30-01-1997 News Release 97/04

Since the beginning of the mass return of Rwandan refugees from Zaire and later from Tanzania, some 10,500 unaccompanied children have been registered and cared for by the ICRC and its working partners in the field. To date, three-quarters of them have been reunited with their families, thanks to active tracing on the road, in transit centres and, finally, in their communes of origin. 

As the first wave of refugees returned from Zaire last November, 6,350 lost children were collected along the way and 5,150 of them (81%) were reunited with their families. A further 2,600 became separated from their parents when returning from Tanzania; of these 1,900 (74%) rejoined their families. During the latest influx of refugees from Zaire via Bukavu and Kamembe, ICRC delegates on the spot have already coordinated the registration of 1,500 more unaccompanied children; so far almost 800 have been reunited with relatives.

Among the ICRC's partners in the Rwanda tracing programme are Save the Children (UK), Concern, World Vision, Feed the Hungry International, and the Rwandan Ministry for Social Affairs. The operation is also being coordinated with UNHCR and UNICEF.