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Republic of the Congo: Red Cross message reunites father and daughter after 27 years

16-11-2000 News Release 00/44

The ICRC tracing agency in Brazzaville needed only one day to find Bernard (not his real name), a Congolese technician, who had been without news of his family in Cuba for 27 years. When Bernard went to study on the Carribean island several decades ago, he married a Cuban woman with whom he had a daughter, Nancy, in 1968. In 1970, after completing his studies, he returned alone to his home country to put his newly acquired knowledge to use. He corresponded with his family in Cuba for three years, then lost contact with them.

For years, Bernard sent letters to various people, both officials and private individuals, in the Congo and Cuba, in a fruitless attempt to discover the whereabouts of his family. One can hardly imagine his surprise and emotion when a Red Cross message recently arrived from his daughter, whom he thought he had lost forever.

Nancy is a 32-year-old woman now. She too had tried for many years to find her father, but her attempts had also been unsuccessful owing to the many conflicts in the Congo over the years. In desperation, she finally turned to the Cuban Red Cross, which found the solution in the form of a message.

In the Congo, as in some 60 other countries, the ICRC restores and maintains family links. The ICRC delegation in Brazzaville began its search as soon as it received Nancy's message, to which she had attached her father's wedding picture. To the amazed delight of her and Bernard, this time she was in luck.