It’s always exciting to be reminded of the fact that the American Red Cross is part of a worldwide network of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that works to alleviate human suffering anywhere around the globe.
As part of this international network, the Los Angeles Region Red Cross is able to offer a unique program called Restoring Family Links (RFL), which offers local families an opportunity to reconnect after being separated from their loved ones due to an armed conflict, disaster or migration.
Its very easy to use. Once a request is received from an inquiring family member at our Los Angeles Region Office, our International Services team will help look for missing relatives by contacting our partners – International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), and subsequently various National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Once a family member is located, we will initiate the reconnection. The family messages transmitted by the American Red Cross can be very brief, but the three short words ‘I am alive’ may be all that is needed to ease the minds of distraught loved ones half a world away.
We worked hard in February to raise awareness about our RFL service with Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Mexican communities in Westlake neighborhoods. Local shop owners such as Carlota Ayapan, the Guatemalan-born owner of Uniformes Carlita, agreed to post information in her store and share information about RFL with her community. Ayapan said,“ I’m happy to help family and friends who lost contact with their families”.