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Côte d'Ivoire: A new way of reaching people anxious for news

02-01-2003 News Release

Family links by telephone is a new system that has been set up for almost 1,400 Ivorian refugees who were transferred in early December to Nonah camp in south-eastern Guinea.

The initiative was inspired by the system of printed sheets bearing the message " I am well " and signed by the sender, which has recently been used in Côte d'Ivoire itself. By mid-December some 80 signed papers with the message " I am safe and sound. Best wishes from ... " had been collected at Nonah. The delegation in Conakry then set about telephoning the families. Over 50 families without news of their loved ones have been reached so far.

Initial figures are as follows.

Of the 81 messages collected:

  • 61 have been successfully forwarded (75%), 20 families (25%) not having been reached;

  • 19 were addressed to people living abroad (France, Ghana, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States), of which 11 got through (the remaining eight mostly bore the wrong number);

  • 62 were addressed to individuals in Côte d'Ivoire, of which 50 got through and 12 were prevented by technical breakdown or wrong numbers).

The results of the delegation's efforts will be posted in the camp next week. The same service will be offered to new arrivals.