Selvin, a Honduran migrant who left his country more than eight months ago, receives a free telephone call to communicate with his family. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Brenda Islas
Mexico (ICRC) – Migrants travelling through Central America and Mexico began receiving WhatsApp messages on Monday with advice on how to avoid and prevent accidents, illness and being separated from family members – common dangers that migrants face.
The initiative by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) seeks to prevent the hardship faced by thousands of people in the region who migrate each year.
"Self-protection messages for migrants are a success, and thousands of these messages have been shared over the last four years in print and through the radio. With an increasing number of people using WhatsApp along migration routes, we are now sending these messages directly to those who need them,” said Jesús Serrano, the ICRC's regional communication coordinator for Mexico and Central America.
Information will be sent through Whatsapp messages from the phone number +52 1 55 80 12 90 55. The messages will be shared with the shelters and aid organizations that the ICRC works with along migration routes, as well as through National Red Cross Societies. The digital messages will be sent in addition to 50,000 printed messages that are expected to be delivered to migrants in 2019.
"WhatsApp enables us to provide more personalized assistance for migrants, helping to address the humanitarian needs they face in different situations on the road. For example, it is possible to share the geolocation of a shelter or send specific advice or alerts in the event of unexpected situations," Serrano added.
The messages that the ICRC has been sending since 2015 contain concrete recommendations that aim to prevent accidents, illnesses, loss of family contact, among other situations, and thereby reduce the vulnerability of migrants on the road.
The ICRC´s experience in recent years has shown that, increasingly, the migrants with whom we interact are accessing digital platforms to communicate with their families and friends, as well as to exchange information in shelters or other places, such as Internet cafes.
For more information:
Alberto Cabezas, ICRC Mexico, tel.: +52 55 2581 2110 ext. 4957, or mobile: +52 55 4525 8361
Jesús Serrano, ICRC Mexico, tel.: +52 55 2581 2110 ext. 4961, or mobile: +52 55 27 55 17 94
To download the digital messages please click here