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Zambia / Democratic Republic of Congo: Children rejoin families

09-03-2004 News Release 04/30

On 2 March, the ICRC reunited six children with their families scattered around the Great Lakes region.

The children, aged between 11 and 18, were among the many civilians who have fled into neighbouring countries – including Congo Brazzaville and Zambia – from conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Congo and Angola. War has subjected thousands of children to the trauma of fleeing for their lives and becoming separated from their loved ones in the process. It has forced them to dwell among strangers in foreign countries, out of touch with their families for years on end.

It became possible to reunite these families only after months of intensive work by ICRC delegates in Zambia and both Congos involving registration of tracing requests, the actual tracing of the missing relatives and the forwarding of Red Cross messages (short personal messages between members of families separated by conflict) to restore contact. Carried out by the organization’s Harare delegation (which covers Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe), this was the second such reunification in two months.

The ICRC took care of the children throughout the long trip until the moment when they were reunited with their parents. " I will change his name to Miracle,” said a mother through her tears, seeing her child for the first time in eight years. “It’s a miracle that my child was found alive. "

 For further information, please contact:  

 Marco Jimenez, ICRC Harare, tel. ++263 479 02 68/9 or 731 760