MANILA, Philippines -- INTERPOL’s Incident Response Team (IRT) co-ordinating the international Philippines disaster victim identification efforts for the almost 800 victims drowned during Typhoon Frank on June 21, 2008 was presented on 12 August with an official award by Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in recognition of INTERPOL’s work.
The team received a Plaque of Recognition of the National Disaster Co-ordinating Council (NDCC) at the Gawad Kalasag ‘Shield’ Awards Ceremony at the Malacañang Palace, Manila, which was accepted on its behalf by Mr Giovanni Santoro of INTERPOL’s regional liaison office in Bangkok.
At the Philippines government’s request INTERPOL deployed its team to Cebu City on 29 June 2008 as part of a collaborative international response working with the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The INTERPOL team included DNA and Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) experts and a representative from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).
The DNA-assisted identification process resulted in nearly 2,500 reference blood samples being collected from family members which assisted in the DNA identification of 449 victims, enabling their remains to be returned to their loved ones.