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New Zealand Red Cross is offering to support families who have lost contact with each other due to the COVID-19 pandemic by checking on their health and wellbeing through our Restoring Family Links service, if other means of contact are not available.
Currently this is for international inquiries only where people in New Zealand have lost contact with family overseas or someone overseas has lost contact with family in New Zealand.
As New Zealand has moved into Alert Level 4, most Kiwis are now living in self-isolation and social interactions are affected, so Red Cross’ Health and Welfare checks services could become the only way for families to find out the health status of loved ones.
“Restoring Family Links service is one of Red Cross’ oldest services and leverages the organisation’s global network of 191 other Red Cross Red Crescent national societies around the world to find missing people. We have a long history of helping loved ones separated by conflict and disaster. With the new measures put in place by the NZ Government and most of the country going into self-isolation, New Zealand Red Cross can and will provide additional support to the community,” says Rachel O’Connor, General Manager Migration.
Red Cross’ Health and Welfare checks can be used by Kiwis who have recently lost contact due to COVID-19 and other illnesses with family members overseas, as well as people currently overseas who have lost contact with family members in New Zealand due to COVID-19 and other illnesses. A service model for domestic health and welfare requests is not within the scope of this service at this time.
When people have used all other means of communication to reach their loved ones, including by phone, email, social media or mutual family or other contacts in the foreign country, New Zealand Red Cross is there to help trace family members.
“If all usual means of communication fail, New Zealand Red Cross can help. We are here, ready to trace family members to report on the health and wellbeing of people in New Zealand to families overseas, but also to work with our Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues around the world to seek answers for Kiwis here in what can be a very difficult and stressful time.”
People whose contact with family members overseas has stopped unexpectedly can apply for assistance on our website. When an enquiry is made overseas about contact lost with a person in New Zealand, we encourage people to make their enquiry through the local Red Cross Red Crescent national society who will contact New Zealand Red Cross. In the event where our colleagues overseas are unable to deal with the request, people can contact New Zealand Red Cross directly. We will then try to trace the missing person and make contact them via phone or within measures implemented by the NZ Government.
“The new measures and way of living around the globe, along with the risk of COVID-19, will feel like stressful and uncertain times for many of us, but New Zealand Red Cross is working as hard as possible to bring certainty around the health status of sick family members. While the way we go about our normal work and programmes at New Zealand Red Cross may be changing, our commitment to humanity and Kiwis hasn’t. We are here for good."
For interviews or more information
Media, contact Elodie Berthe, New Zealand Red Cross Communications Advisor
+64 27 404 1691 or Elodie.Berthe@redcross.org.nz