With the beginning of active hostilities in the vicinity of Kyiv and in the direction of Kharkiv, Mariupol’, Sumy, Kherson, and Chernihiv the connection with local residents was partially or completely lost. The Russian occupiers are deliberately cutting off Ukrainians from any means of communication in order to spread disinformation and sow panic. As long as the levels of danger continue to be high, it will be difficult to restore the communication networks, so relatives and friends may remain silent for days or even weeks. Due to the work of a wide network of volunteers, there are several ways a missing person can be found.
This article is a summary from various sources, the main one being the constantly updated instruction titled “The search for missing persons in 2022 during hostilities, blockades, or Russian occupation.” It includes detailed instructions as well as tools for both self- and team-searching.
The following are the tips that will facilitate your search.
When conducting a search, keep calm and be consistent. If the missing person cannot be contacted directly, first contact their relatives and friends.
Contact the volunteers from a city or village where the missing person was or where he/she planned to relocate. Depending on the purpose of the search, notify the volunteers about the exact address of the missing person and ask them to deliver food, medicine, or help evacuate.
You can find the local volunteer groups by searching for the names of the settlements on social networks. For instance, the Ukrainian Volunteer Service has created a whole network of local chats.
You can contact Mariupol’ using these volunteer contacts.
Web Pages and Search Channels on Social Networks
“Search for the Missing” (Ukrainian: Пошук зниклих) is a Telegram channel that has become one of the central databases of missing persons. Here you can check whether the missing person has been mentioned already. This can be done by searching by last name in both Ukrainian and Russian.
If someone has already published information about the person you are looking for, then you need to contact the person who submitted the search query (in the announcement, the number and name of the searcher need to be indicated).
If there is no announcement, then you need to submit a search request via a special Google form. Provide as many details about the person and your last contact with them as possible.
In addition to announcements, the channel partly publishes lists of evacuees from dangerous places. These lists may also include the person you are looking for.
Created on the initiative of the International Cybersecurity Association and other non-governmental organizations, the “Find Your Close Ones” (Ukrainian: «Знайди рідних») bot will help you find a missing person within Ukraine and abroad.
In some regions, the Telegram channels and search chats are available. For instance, if the person you are looking for lives in Kharkiv, then you can use the @Nadiia_Kharkiv_bot Telegram-bot.
Recently, a Telegram-bot named “Looking for Relatives in the Kyiv region” (Ukrainian: “Шукаю рідних Київська область”) was created for the whole Kyiv region.
Search for the Missing Children
Women and children are the first to be taken out of the hotspots of warfare. Due to the intense flow of displaced persons and stressful evacuation conditions, minors are often lost. The Missing Children Search Service will help to find a lost kid within the country, while the Missing Children Europe — abroad.
Follow the official evacuation routes from the cities or towns where the missing person was last located. The relevant information is updated daily and can be found on the Facebook page and Telegram channel of the Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk.
The Telegram channel “Search for Missing Persons Ukraine 2022” (Ukrainian: “Пошук зниклих Україна 2022”) reports on the evacuation daily and shares local authorities’ announcements on the details of the evacuation.
The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security illustrates the evacuation routes along the green corridors that are announced beforehand. This information can help to track the intermediate points between the start and end points of the escape route.
Leave your contact information and information about the missing person on social media for transit settlements and locations where evacuees are brought from hotspots. Reports with the lists of evacuees are often posted there too. Have a look at them and leave a request for the search in the comment section.
Keep an eye on all the possible evacuation halts, keep in touch with local volunteers, as well as missing people who have already been found and evacuated. They can possess some useful information: tips on local communication channels within the evacuation route, testimonies about the person you’re seeking, etc.
Photo: Chris McGrath
The National Information Bureau collects information about the prisoners of war, the dead, and the missing. The Bureau is already accepting inquiries on the 1648 hotline; for calls from abroad, dial +38 (044) 287-81-65. The bureau’s website will soon be launched.
Team up with others whose search is focused on the same locations that may be of interest to you. Your missing person may have crossed paths with others, so it’s necessary to share information and help the search groups. For example, you can find a handwritten list of evacuees and type it out so that it can be later added to the electronic database. It will speed up the search of other people who are trying to find their relatives.
If the person is found
If the missing person is found and is safe, then you need to notify the search channels where you have previously submitted the request. Share your experience and faith in the possibility of a successful search with others who are still looking for their loved ones.
Involved in the preparation of the material 7 volunteersSupport the project