Dutch ID team to stay in Asia for two months

6th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 January 2005AMSTERDAM — The Dutch team helping to identify victims of the tsunami will begin relieving its staff with fresh personnel from next week.

6 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch team helping to identify victims of the tsunami will begin relieving its staff with fresh personnel from next week.

Dutch Interior Minister Johan  Remkes — who was criticised for continuing his holiday in Thailand after hearing about the tsunami on 26 December — met the 21 members of the disaster identification team (RIT) on the Thai holiday island Phuket on Thursday.

The team has already examined hundreds of bodies and it is expected the work will continue for at least two months.

Remkes was accompanied by Peter van Zunderd, head of the Dutch national police service KLPD, which operates the RIT teams. There are a further seven RIT members on Sri Lanka.

KLPD spokesperson Ed Kraszewski said members of the team would be replaced, starting from next week.

The RIT team try to identify the bodies of victims by checking for tattoos, or distinctive markings or unique jewelery. If that is not enough, they compare teeth to dental records and take DNA samples.

It is estimates at least 150,000 people, both locals and tourists, died in the disaster that engulfed the coastline of several countries in the Indian Ocean region. Many of the bodies are badly decomposed and are not easily identifiable.

Kraszewski estimated the RIT team has examined hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies so far.

Seven Dutch people are known to have died and a further 30 are missing, presumed dead. Another 102 people, suspected of being in the region when the tsunami struck, have yet to be traced. The Dutch Foreign Ministry said 18 people had been traced since Wednesday.

Remkes said that he had great admiration for the work the RIT was doing.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, Indian Ocean disaster

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