In an effort to boost the Restoring Family Links (RFL) programme, Red Cross Movement Partners the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) held a training for Family News Service (FNS) focal persons and a workshop for specialists. The training, held from 13-17 October saw 20 participants from the 12 most disaster-prone states of India. The training was organised at the Disaster Management Centre of the IRCS National Headquarters.


One of the training sessions in progress. ©ICRC

The inaugural session was attended by Dr S P Agarwal, secretary general, IRCS, Ms Mary Werntz, head of ICRC regional delegation in India, Bhutan and the Maldives and officers from the IRCS and the ICRC along with FNS focal persons and specialists from various state branches of the IRCS also attended the training.

Ms Mary Werntz presented Dr Agarwal with a historic stamp on Henry Dunant, the founder of the ICRC, to mark the occasion. She said that RFL is the one of the best possible examples of ‘universality’, one of the guiding principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

The training included sessions on tracing requests, tracing for migrants, psychosocial support, dead body management, RFL response during disasters, registration of vulnerable individuals, family reunification etc.

The sessions were interactive and included practical components. Emphasis was also given to incorporating modern technology in fulfilling the FNS procedure of reuniting families.

The organisers incorporated lectures by two FNS specialists from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu as part a part of an exercise to create a pool of facilitators under the RFL programme. Both these specialists having been dealing with FNS activities in their respective states for a long time. The Gujarat and Tamil Nadu branches of the IRCS are among the forerunners in implementing the RFL programmes.

It has been decided that these trainings will now be used at the implementation stage for which two-three state branches will be chosen as model branches. At the end of the training, every participant and specialist was presented with a certificate by the Dr Agarwal.

ICRC New Delhi