Two halves make a whole: Both first responders and experts are needed for the management and identification of the dead in large disasters

S. Cordner, S. T.D. Ellingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Catastrophic natural disasters are a regular global issue claiming thousands of lives and having severe and long lasting consequences for communities. Along with the rescue and care of survivors and the provision of basic services, managing the dead in a proper and dignified manner is one of the three pillars of disaster response. Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, progress to facilitate better coordination in the management of the dead has been made. Two guidelines contributing to this positive trend are the Interpol DVI Guide, and the “Management of the Dead after Disasters — A Field Manual for First Responders”. The former is aimed at forensic specialists and emergency services, the latter at untrained first responders confronted with the management of the dead when specialist forensic services are not available. This paper sets out the complementarity of the two publications, illustrating that ideally, both first responders and experts are needed to properly manage and identify the dead following large disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-64
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Disaster victim identification
  • First responders
  • Forensic science
  • Humanitarian forensic action
  • Management of the dead
  • Mass fatality

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