accessibility & help

Red Cross reunites families in Haiti

26 February 2010

A boy in Haiti speaking on a phone© InfoThree young boys had an emotional reunion with their families a month after an earthquake hit Haiti, thanks to the Red Cross.

The boys, ranging in age from eight to 12, were separated from their families during the chaos the quake caused. They had been taken to an orphanage, and the Red Cross’ tracing teams in Haiti investigated the whereabouts of their families.

The boys are among thousands of people the Red Cross has put back in touch with their families after the earthquake.

Watch a Reuters report about the boys' reunion with their families.

Thousands of families separated

Just after the earthquake hit, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a website where survivors can let their families know they were safe and well.

Additionally, families can post the names of relatives they’d lost touch with in the hopes their loved ones had survived and would get in touch.

To date, 27,695 names have been published on the Family Links website. Among those names, 5,069 are survivors who are safe and well, whereas 22,626 are relatives who are “anxious for news”.

Registration in camps

Because many survivors are living in camps, Haitian Red Cross volunteers have been walking through the camps to register survivors and take the names of their missing relatives.

They’re also helping families call each other. For anxious relatives, it’s the first time they’ve heard news from their loved ones. Nearly 3,300 people have used the service to call their families.

Watch a video about how Haitian Red Cross volunteers are reconnecting loved ones.

A special role

Since its beginning, the Red Cross has played a unique role in reconnecting families separated by disasters and conflicts.

As there is a Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society in nearly every country, people can contact their local National Society and access a global network.

The local National Society sends information about the missing relative to Red Cross or Red Crescent National Societies in other countries, or to the ICRC, who will try to find them.

Find out more about the Red Cross’ role in family reunions in Haiti

Read an interview with the deputy head of the ICRC’s central tracing agency