Earthquake in Haiti: Reconnecting Families

Earthquake in Haiti 2010

Bernadette Perez, a woman of Haitian heritage on vacation from the United States, lost her in-laws following last week’s earthquake in Haiti. In this picture, she attends to her 11-year-old niece Emanuella, who was crushed when her school collapsed. Red Cross teams visiting with the rows of patients in the outdoor wards at the University Hospital in Port-au-Prince loaned her a satellite phone so she could tell her family in America about Emanuella’s condition. This activity part of an important Red Cross service – reconnecting separated families after international emergencies.

People eager to re-establish contact with their loved ones in Haiti and overseas started to arrive at the new tracing office, outside the American Red Cross office in the Croix-de-Prez neighborhood, as soon as it opened. A jingle encouraging the public to use the tracing service is now playing on local radios. Trucks mounted with loudspeakers also drive around town, especially near the largest camps, to let people know that they can get in touch with relatives through the Red Cross.

On Wednesday, the Red Cross enabled 343 people in Port-au-Prince to make phone calls to relatives living abroad. They also registered the names of 178 individuals eager to let their loved ones know that they were alive and well on the Red Cross family links Web site ( So far, more than 23,900 names have been registered on this site; nearly 1,800 of these are people posted that they are safe and alive.

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