PRESS RELEASE on FAMILY LINKS HELP FROM THE RED CROSS

The American Red Cross, with support of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, is launching a Web site and hotline to help assist family members who are seeking news about loved ones living in the path of Hurricane Katrina. You can visit the "Family Links Registry" via www.redcross.org or call 1-877-LOVED-1S to register.

Evacuees wishing to inform loved ones of their location can register their name by clicking on "Family Links Registry" on www.redcross.org. Concerned loved ones can register the names of their loved ones and view the list of those already posted. Due to the extent of the damage and the number of people displaced, concerned friends and family members are encouraged to visit the site daily to consult the list, as it will be updated continuously. 1 877-LOVED-1S is a toll-free hotline established for those who do not have internet access.

During the unprecedented hurricane season of last year, with four hurricanes in just six weeks, the American Red Cross received more than 300,000 phone calls - most coming from people looking for missing loved ones. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, loved ones across America and around the world are again turning to the Red Cross for help.

The American Red Cross is dedicated as an organization to re-establishing family links. In order to expedite this process, we have tapped into the capacity of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), whose experience in connecting families separated by disaster or armed conflict is unsurpassed. As Americans give to the international community during times of crisis, the international community is now giving back.

The Family Links Web site is a voluntary, self-registration system. The American Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have no means of verifying the information posted. As it is a public site, information posted is not confidential.

The American Red Cross, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, governmental and non-profit agencies, is part of a monumental response to this disaster. As we all work to assist victims of this catastrophic event, the Red Cross is there to address the basic needs of those affected. As a team, we are working to alleviate the anxiety of those searching for news of their loved ones.

Nicole Valentine

Director of Emergency Services/Public Affairs

American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts

Office: 508-595-3727

Cell: 508-735-7124

Fax: 508-595-3728

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