For Immediate Release
January 21, 2005
Contact: Daniel J. Johnson
IFFAMPAC mourns loss of life in South Asia and Eastern Africa
Rockford, Illinois. “The great loss of life, homes, and livelihoods gives us new reason to mourn, for some nations affected by the December 26 disaster were already experiencing the aftermath of war,” said Jane E. Durgom-Powers, founder and president of the International Federation of Family Associations of Missing Persons from Armed Conflicts (IFFAMPAC). IFFAMPAC works to unite families and family associations in their effort to learn the fate of loved ones who are missing because of armed conflict.
“Because of the earthquake and the tsunami, the suffering endured by those families whose loved ones are listed as missing due to the armed conflict is now tragically multiplied as other members of their family and close friends are or may be missing and unaccounted for due to this natural disaster. Now thousands more of families around the world grieve for someone who is missing. It’s sad, and even ironic, that war and natural disaster exact the same toll on our lives,” Durgom-Powers said. “But war is the one thing we can prevent.”
“Now, new families will have the same questions needing answers and the same needs for emotional support that families of “The Missing” have. I hope that governments and relief organizations make every effort to help families find, or at least account for, their missing loved ones,” she said.
Durgom-Powers is an international human rights attorney who has worked on POW/MIA issues for more than 34 years. She is recognized by members of the U.S. military community and international non-governmental organizations as the leading international attorney on POW/MIA issues. She has also served as an advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the project of “The Missing.” Durgom-Powers is co-founder of The Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Institute in Chicago.
Durgom-Powers said the impact of missing family members will be felt for many years and that survivors of the disaster can help themselves and one another by taking the same steps taken by families affected by armed conflicts:
1. Form an emotional support network among family and friends who empathize with you
2. Seek counseling from pastors, spiritual directors, and/or mental health professionals
3. Share whatever information you have with other families that are trying to find out what happened to their loved ones
4. Form local associations of families that will help their members navigate legal issues and, if necessary, pressure government for greater cooperation
After serving for many years as League Counsel for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, Jane E. Durgom-Powers founded IFFAMPAC in 2003 as an international non-governmental organization to serve as an advocate, link, and information archive and clearinghouse for families and family associations worldwide in their effort to prevent their loved ones from becoming unaccounted for and to resolve cases of missing persons.
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