The number of migrants officially missing is higher than it has been for more than a decade. The German Red Cross reports that nearly 100,000 people are registered as missing as a result of war and persecution worldwide.
The number only takes into account officially registered missing persons. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the unofficial count is believed to be much higher, The German press agency dpa reports.
Despite declining refugee numbers in Germany and Europe, the German Red Cross continues to receive a large number of missing persons reports. Many reports are filed by refugees who have lost family members or friends during the journey.
In the first half of 2018, nearly as many international search requests were filed with the German Red Cross (GRC) as in the whole of 2017, Gerda Hasselfeldt, the head of the GRC explains.
Countries of missing persons
The main countries of origin of those filing the reports were Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Eritrea. Syrians and Afghans continued to be among the top nationalities of asylum seekers in the EU as well as in Germany in the first half of 2018, at first and third places respectively.
For many people who have fled armed conflict, disasters or humanitarian crises and have been separated from their families, the Red Cross is often the last hope. "In nearly 50 percent of the cases, the Tracing Service of the GRC was able to help," Hasselfeldt says.
What to do if someone is missing
To report someone missing or issue an international search with the Tracing Service, you need to contact the Red Cross and fill out forms. The Red Cross asks for a detailed report on the person being searched and, where necessary, the circumstances in which contact was lost. Once the forms are handed in, the Red Cross will inform you about the result of their search in writing or by telephone. The Tracing Service also assists in cases of family separation.