Red Cross launches website to help reunite families in war-torn Philippine Marawi City

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-30 15:27:53|Editor: Song Lifang
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MANILA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced on Wednesday that it has created a website where people separated by conflicts in southern Philippine city of Marawi can go online to find their missing relatives.

Fierce fighting between government security forces and extremists has been raging for more than three months in the city where militants allied with the Islamic State (IS) group.

"In an effort to reunite these families, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the ICRC recently launched an online page that helps trace missing persons," the ICRC said in a statement.

Camilla Matteucci, head of the ICRC team working with the PRC to reunite families in the Philippines, 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 not have the means to contact their kin," she said.

"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 ICRC said the website supplements existing tracing services such as the 12 PRC welfare desks in evacuation centers in Marawi and Iligan cities in the southern Philippines.

"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," the ICRC said.

The government has estimated that more than 500,000 people have been displaced by the war that broke out on May 23. The ongoing war has so far killed more than 800, according to the military.