The restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 are creating new challenges in the search for missing persons, the ICRC said in a report released this weekend on the occasion of the International Day of the Missing on Sunday, 30 Augustu 2020.
They specified that 45% of cases were children when they disappeared.
“This number of cases is a drop in the ocean on a real scale of people whose family members have not heard from,” said Sophie Marsac, ICRC regional adviser for missing persons and their families in Africa.
“Armed conflict, violence, migration and climate shocks have kept families apart during this pandemic, and our work to find missing people has become even more difficult,” she continued.
Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon account for 82% of the disappearance cases handled by the ICRC in Africa.
Nigeria is the worst affected country, with almost twenty-three thousand people, and represents the largest number of missing people on the continent, almost entirely due to the conflict in the northeast of the country.
All seven countries saw an increase in the number of missing persons registered with the ICRC in the first half of 2020, the report said.