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18 July 2014

INTERPOL team to help identify victims of Malaysia Airlines crash

LYON, France – At the request of the Ukrainian authorities INTERPOL is to deploy an Incident Response Team (IRT) to help coordinate the identification of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 which crashed on Thursday.

The INTERPOL team, which includes Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) experts and a representative from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will be deployed within the next 48 hours to provide on-site assistance.

INTERPOL’s internationally recognized DVI guidelines are the global standard in identifying victims and have previously been the basis for successful victim identification following major disasters including the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2009 Air France AF 447 tragedy.

Supported by the 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre (CCC) at the General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, which is treating any messages about the crash of flight MH 17 as a priority, the IRT will also assess requirements for any additional DVI and other specialist deployment in identifying the 298 victims from at least nine countries.

Identifying victims of major disasters is rarely possible by visual recognition. The INTERPOL DVI process ensures a structured collection and comparison of identifiers such as fingerprints, dental records or DNA samples with ones stored in databases or taken from victims’ personal effects to obtain a conclusive identification.

“With victims of this tragedy from all parts of the globe, international cooperation is essential in ensuring their accurate, dignified and speedy recovery and identification so as to enable the families to begin the healing process,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“INTERPOL is uniquely placed to provide this support to each of our involved member countries, and having spoken with Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, I have assured him of our continued assistance for as long as it is required,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

Immediately following the news that Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 had crashed, INTERPOL contacted its National Central Bureaus in Kiev, The Hague and Kuala Lumpur to offer the organization’s full support.