Pretoria (ICRC) — Families in southern Africa who are looking for a missing relative now have a new online tool to help them in their search. Trace the Face, a secure website created and run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with National Red Cross Societies, has been launched to reconnect families who have been separated by violence, natural disasters, or migration.
"Families with missing relatives suffer from the anguish and uncertainty of not knowing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones," said Marie-Astrid Blondiaux, Protection Coordinator for the ICRC in southern Africa. "In southern Africa, families often lose touch because a person disappears along a migration route or in the destination country. This can lead to years, if not decades of separation. We hope that Trace the Face will give families an avenue to search for and reconnect with one another."
The Trace the Face website allows people searching for their missing relative to upload a photograph of themselves as well as details of who they are searching for. People can then search the website for photographs of their family members. The website will initially be available in English. Versions of the website in languages relevant for communities in southern Africa will follow.
Over 16,000 enquiries have been registered on a similar platform by families searching for their loved ones in other parts of the world since 2013, enabling one successful family reconnection per week on average in 2018. As we approach the annual commemoration of International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August, the ICRC has registered 145,000 cases of missing people worldwide. This is only a fraction of all the people believed to be missing globally.
To search for a missing person in southern Africa or learn how to register, please use the following link:
For interview requests please contact:
Hilton Zvidzayi, ICRC Harare, firstname.lastname@example.org +263 774 168199
Tendayi Sengwe, ICRC Pretoria, email@example.com, +27 66 476 4446