International Committee of the Red Cross

Sri Lanka: 9 years on, families of the missing learning to live with loss

Photo gallery 29 August 2018

Long after the fighting ends, families continue to search for loved ones who have gone missing during a conflict. They live in limbo not knowing if their relative is alive or dead.

In Sri Lanka, it has been nine years since the conflict ended. But for the families of missing people, the quest for their loved ones, continues. What these families want to know most is the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives.

These families also need psychosocial support and help with their livelihood, health, legal and administrative matters. In 2015, the ICRC started a comprehensive support programme called the Accompaniment Programme to assist families in overcoming them.

For these families, until they have an answer, the wait for their loved ones will go on.

  • The ICRC has a total of 16,000 people still unaccounted for in connection to the conflict
  • Over 6,000 families have been provided psychosocial support and more than 1,000 families have been helped with their livelihood since the start of the Accompaniment Programme.
  • More than 800 referrals have been made to service providers to help families of missing with their administrative, legal, health and economic needs.