September 6, 2005

Nearly 100,000 seek family on Katrina site-Red Cross

GENEVA (Reuters) - Nearly 100,000 people have registered on
a Red Cross Web page set up to help trace family members
missing or separated since Hurricane Katrina devastated the
U.S. Gulf Coast, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The number of entries on the family links site, set up with
the American Red Cross, rose overnight from 65,000 to 94,000,
according to Florian Westphal, spokesman of the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

People in the disaster area can register on the Web page to
inform their family and friends that they are safe and provide
their current contact details, while those looking for loved
ones can check the list for information.

"One message we'd like to pass to the public out there is
to keep checking it regularly because new data and entries are
being added all the time," Westphal told a briefing.

People who have re-established contact with their family
members should have their names removed from the list, which
can be accessed via

Within the United States, the Web site can also be reached
via a toll free phone number + 1 877 568 3317 -- corresponding
to +1 877 LOVED1s.

Hundreds of thousands of evacuees are taking refuge in
shelters, hotels and private homes across the United States
after one of the country's worst natural disasters.

The ICRC, a humanitarian agency which helps countries cope
with wars and natural disasters, has also sent five family
tracing experts to the United States, at the request of the
American Red Cross.