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Red Cross 'flooded' by missing requests in Syria

Around 13,000 missing requests have been filed in the past six months. [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 April, 2018

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The past six months have seen a surge in the number of missing requests filed to the Red Cross by Syrians looking for missing relatives.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the organisation has been "flooded" by thousands of missing requests in the last six months from Syrians looking for missing family members.

ICRC head Peter Maurer said that that around 13,000 requests have been filed over the last six months. Before then, the ICRC only had "requests in the hundreds."

He said the surge in requests is probably related to Syrians returning to places in the country where there is no active combat and worrying about family members.

Maurer said the ICRC has also been "slightly more pro-active" on the issue of missing Syrians. He said the requests have come from all areas of Syria, neighbouring countries and even globally.

As for successful reunifications, Maurer said "numbers are in the tens to fifties."

On Wednesday, the UN's deputy humanitarian chief said attacks on civilians in Syria and their homes, schools and health facilities had "reached some of the highest levels since the conflict began" seven years ago.

Ursula Mueller told the UN Security Council that the needs of people in Syria also "could not be higher," with 13.1 million people in need of aid, including some 5.6 million "in acute need."

She said the UN verified 72 attacks on health facilities in the first three months of 2018, compared to 112 attacks in 2017.

Mueller says access across conflict lines also "remains extremely constricted." She said over 160,000 people left the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta between 9 March and 15 April.

She says the situation in Idlib province "remains catastrophic, with almost 400,000 people displaced since mid-December, in addition to tens of thousands who were displaced from Eastern Ghouta and Eastern Qalamoun."


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