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East Timor: 230 Red Cross messages gathered in one day

30-09-1999 News Release 99/39

On 27 September the ICRC in Dili gathered 230 messages from people anxious for news of their relatives. Having learned by word of mouth that the ICRC's tracing agency had opened an office in Dili, people from the city and its outskirts arrived in small groups to find out how the ICRC " postal service " worked. Thousands were separated from their relatives during the recent events in East Timor and have no means of contacting them.

The messages will be sent to Red Cross offices in the region and those to whom they are addressed will be able to answer them. The ICRC will then deliver their replies. A satellite phone has also been installed in the ICRC offices in Dili so that those who have a number to reach can try and get in touch with their relatives more quickly.