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Liberia: Children reunited with loved ones

21-07-2003 News Release 03/83

In the past six weeks the ICRC has reunited 100 lost children with relatives in and around Monrovia. More than 200 have been registered since fighting began in the capital and at least half are under 12 years of age.

Recent offensives on the city have driven tens of thousands of people from their homes and hundreds of families have become separated. Delegates are registering unaccompanied children in more than 80 places of refuge in the capital and in camps for displaced people in the surrounding area.

Radio stations inform people of this service, which is being provided jointly by ICRC staff and 40 volunteers from the Liberian National Red Cross Society. The radio announcements call on people to report missing children to Red Cross booths set up all over the city and in surrounding camps. Lists of children looking for their parents have been also posted in centres for the displaced.

Marcel Stoessel, one of the delegates involved, says that every effort is being made to reunite children with their families as quickly as possible. " Children are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, " he adds.

In addition to endeavouring to trace people sought by their families or vice versa, the ICRC is performing war surgery at Monrovia's John F. Kennedy hospital (where it has also set up a tracing service) and providing health care at Blamacee clinic. It also visits detainees, carries out water and sanitation work and organizes relief distributions. These programmes are helping both resident and displaced populations in Monrovia and in the counties of Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Bong.

A team of 20 expatriates, 300 locally recruited staff and volunteers from the Liberian Red Cross are striving to aid and protect those affected by the fighting. The ICRC has been working in the country since 1990.

 For more information:  

 Virginia de la Guardia, ICRC Monrovia, tel. ++377 47 528 089