Red Cross launches online page to trace missing Marawi victims

THE INTERNATIONAL Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched an online page to help local government agencies and non-government organizations trace persons displaced in the Marawi siege.

This, as fighting entered its 100th day on Wednesday since the battle started on May 23 when Maute terrorists occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. A Martial Law was imposed in the whole Mindanao island as government troopers were sent to run after the terrorists.

The ICRC is working with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for the website, that aims to reunite missing persons with their loved ones.

Camilla Matteucci, the ICRC team head, said there are many possible causes of separation during a conflict situation.

 “People could be trapped by the fighting, detained or even killed. They could be in an evacuation center but do not have the means to contact their kin. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that families have a right to know what has happened to their loved ones, and wherever possible, be reunited with them. Our tracing website offers a platform for people to share information about their missing relatives and request our help in tracing them,” Matteucci said.

The website supplements existing tracing services such as the 12 PRC welfare desks in evacuation centers in Marawi and Iligan cities.

The information shared by families with the Red Cross remains confidential. Since the beginning of the Marawi conflict, the Red Cross has received 402 tracing requests, 179 of which are still being looked into.

Reuniting families in times of conflict or disaster is a key service that is always provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

In Marawi, the ICRC and the PRC have been providing technical and material support to help the authorities manage dead bodies. Besides this, the PRC has provided psychosocial support to more than 10,400 people, including children, affected by the conflict.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared (August 30), the ICRC said it wishes to draws attention to the plight of these families and stresses that people have a right to know what happened to their missing relatives.

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