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ICRC helps bereaved families in Philippines

Updated: 2013-11-21 21:52
( Xinhua)

ICRC helps bereaved families in Philippines

Survivors sit on a window frame of a destroyed house in a coastal area wrecked by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban November 21, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

MANILA - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been working to help those who lost contact with their kinsfolks since supertyphoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, devastated central Philippines on November 8, ICRC said Thursday.

ICRC immediately sent a forensic expert to advise, coordinate and cooperate with the Philippine authorities on the proper management of the dead as Yolanda resulted in the loss of many lives, said Andres Patino, ICRC's expert in humanitarian forensic action and the first forensic specialist to arrive in Tacloban.

According to ICRC Manila office, around 35,000 people within the Philippines and beyond have so far asked the Philippine Red Cross to trace family members who have gone missing in connection with Typhoon Haiyan.

"Families with no information on the whereabouts of loved ones are grief-stricken. People feel an overwhelming need to know what happened to their missing relatives," said Nancy Fournier of the ICRC delegation in Manila.

"They need to know what happened to be able to start mourning. That's why it is so important to handle remains carefully."

Patino said "There are certain procedures that should be followed to preserve the dignity of the victims and facilitate their identification."  

But, in the current circumstances, with electricity and other basic necessities unavailable and most facilities destroyed, ensuring that these procedures are followed is very challenging.

The ICRC is closely coordinating its forensic action in the Philippines with the WHO.

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