The Philippines

By DFID - UK Department for International Development [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By DFID - UK Department for International Development [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In June 2008 Typhoon Frank – also known as Typhoon Fengshen – struck the Philippines and China, causing severe damage and resulting in at least 1,500 deaths and leaving more than 1,000 unaccounted for. A 24,000-ton ferry, the M.S. Princess of the Stars, capsized in the storm, leaving more than 700 people missing. It is estimated that an additional 500 people went missing from vessels that sank in the same area as a result of the typhoon.

Working with INTERPOL and the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),  ICMP trained Philippine nurses and police officers in ante-mortem data collection and DNA sampling from the families of 777 victims. ICMP provided DNA identifications for 449 victims. Typhoon Frank was the first joint operation carried out by ICMP and INTERPOL under the  Agreement on Cooperation on Disaster Victim Identification (DVI), signed by the two organizations in November 2007.

In early November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan – known locally as Typhoon Yolanda – made landfall in the Philippines. One of the strongest tropical storms on record, the typhoon claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people, destroyed upwards of one million homes, and directly affected 16 million people. Tacloban City was hardest hit. Parts of China, Taiwan and Vietnam were also affected by the storm.

In coordination with the Philippines authorities, INTERPOL, and DVI experts from Canada and South Africa, an assessment was undertaken regarding persons missing and dead as a result of the disaster. In view of the many competing needs of the affected communities, the assessment recommended preparations for a longer term strategy on the issue of the missing.

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