New Search Engine Is Hoping to Help Families Reunite After Disaster

Refugees from Rwanda arrive in Tanzania. Photo by UNHCR/ P. Moumtzis

Refugees from Rwanda arrive in Tanzania. Photo by UNHCR/ P. Moumtzis

A free internet search engine is providing a special database to help families reunite after being forced to relocate by disaster or conflict.

Refugees United aims to help refugees and internally displaced people by allowing relatives and friends to search for and enter their own details. Users will be allowed to search by country, country, last known location or last name. The site careful guards those fearing persecution for crossing borders illegally, and does not include the type of personal information only a close kin would know.

The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says there are over 1.5 million minors who have lost contact with their parents.

Currently the Red Cross  offers a Family Tracing and Messaging Service , but what Refugees United offers is the exclusion the  the need to seek help from a third party.

Instead the search engine allows users to search for family members. Volunteers have translated the site into 23 different languages, with an initial focus on African languages.  However, the site will be adding a Bhutanese version next.

The biggest obstacle that it predicts is access to the Internet for users to utilize the new database.

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