The number of people seeking help from the British Red Cross in Lancashire to help trace lost relatives has increased dramatically in the past year.
The team, based in Preston, deals with a variety of cases where people want trace family members: from those who have lost contact due to current conflicts in places such as Syria, to cases related to World War II.
Over the past year though figures shown that 45 per cent of enquiries involved family members who lost contact due to current or recent conflicts or situations of violence including Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sri Lanka.
More than a third – 36 per cent of calls – related to disasters including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the Lampedusa boat tragedy.
Another 18 per cent related to World War One.
Victoria Cooper international family tracing coordinator for Lancashire, said: “Every year, thousands of family members are separated by conflicts, disasters or migration. People suffer terribly when they lose contact with their loved ones, and don’t know where they are or whether they are safe.
“Here in Lancashire, we have a team of staff and volunteers working hard to help restore family links.”
Earlier this year the Preston team launched an appeal for a new Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support vehicle – and volunteers to staff it.