Multimedia Newsroom
Images & footage available to download at no charge. They may not be sold or transferred to a third party or used for commercial purpose. Caution: our footage can be distressing.

14-04-2019 | Latest News , Middle East

Syria: ICRC pleas for information on a New Zealand nurse and two Syrians abducted in 2013


Statement by Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations, ICRC:

“Today we are making a public plea for information about three of our staff members who were abducted in Syria in 2013.

The staff are Louisa Akavi, a dedicated and committed nurse from New Zealand who has been working for the Red Cross ever since 1988;

And also Alaa Rajab and Nabil Bakdounes, both Syrians, who have been working for us as drivers and both of them, I know, are loving husbands and caring fathers.

I want to tell you Louisa, Alaa and Nabil: we have continued searching for you throughout all these years and we won’t give up hope to see you once again among us.

Unfortunately and despite all our efforts, we don’t know what’s happened to Alaa and Nabil ever since 2013.

As to Louisa, we know that she is held captive by the Islamic State group and we have repeatedly received credible information about her whereabouts. The last such information dates back as recently as December 2018.

I can’t even start imagining the suffering and hardship Louisa has gone through.  What we actually know is that Louisa has been working as a nurse during her abduction which shows her dedication and commitment to the mission and mandate of the Red Cross -  caring for people affected by conflict.

Today with the loss of territory of the Islamic State in Syria, the urgency to find our colleagues has reached a new peak. We are thus calling on anybody who has information on Louisa, Alaa and Nabil to urgently step forward and share this information with us.

This is the longest ever abduction case in the 156 years history of the ICRC. The past five years have been beyond difficult for the families and friends of Louisa, Alaa and Nabil who are desperately awaiting for news.

I finally  would like to express my heart-felt gratitude to the New Zealand Red Cross and the government of New Zealand.  Their committed support to the effort to find Louisa has been invaluable and I know their support will continue.”


Filming: April 2019

Location:  statement from ICRC HQ  Geneva, Switzerland and B roll from various locations in Syria

Language: English       

Copyright: Access all      

Reference:    20190415-ICRCstatement-Stillhart


00:00:  Statement by Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations, ICRC

As above



Eastern Ghouta (2018) ICRC cars moving in destroyed city


Various shots of destruction: homes, health facility


ICRC convoy in Eastern Ghoutha


IDPs in Al Hol Camp (2019)


ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent providing assistance to IDPs in AL Hol Camp


ICRC woman with IDP kids in Areesha


IDPs in warehouse in Aleppo (2017). ICRC providing assistance.



For more information, please contact the following ICRC spokespeople:

Ewan Watson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 244 64 70

Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 93 02

Sara Alzawqari, ICRC Beirut, tel: +961 3 138 353

Matt Morris, ICRC London, tel: +44 7753 809471

Anna Nelson, ICRC Washington, tel: +1 202-255-2715

Pawel Krzysiek, ICRC Bangkok, tel: +66 81 950 12 70

For the New Zealand Red Cross:

Ellie van Baaren, Communications Manager, New Zealand Red Cross, tel: +64 27 541 1267

Duration : 3m 38s
Size : 249.2 MB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

More Related News