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PIA Press Release

Interpol ends task of identifying victims of Typhoon Frank

Cebu City (February 3) -- After six months of round-the-clock work to fast track the reunion of grieving families with their missing loved ones, the Incident Response Team of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has completed their task in assisting the Philippine Government in identifying the victims of Typhoon Frank.

On Thursday, the Cebu City Government will host a 'Thank You' program for the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Task force composed of forensic experts from Interpol and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBO), the lead agency tasked to head the identification efforts.

DVI experts from the NBI and the Interpol have been based in Cebu City since July of last year to assist in the accurate identification of remains through DNA testing, the only reliable examination requiring blood-stain samples to be extracted from next of kin or relatives of the victims.

Majority of the victims were the fatalities of the Princess of the Stars which sank off the coast in Sibuyan Island in Romblon at the height of Typhoon Frank's fury last June 28.

Apart from their services, the Interpol also provided some 3,000 DNA test kits, essential in the accurate identification of the victims that were already beyond recognition.

The DNA testing kit including the analysis is said to cost between P60,000 to P70,000 which is being shouldered by Interpol. It also arranged for the transport of a mobile forensic laboratory and refrigerated vans where the remains were kept as the total expenditures by the Interpol on DNA analysis and equipment were almost or over P50M.

All eight congressmen from Cebu expressed their utmost gratitude to the Interpol for their generosity and dedication to help the country specifically the affected families who were in agony for sometime but now at peace after seeing and being reunited with the remains of their loved ones.

Cebu's representatives likewise gave their messages of gratitude to the humanitarian efforts of the Interpol and their sacrifices being away from their families to help the Philippine Government and the families of the victims in their times of need.

The Interpol forensic team was involved in the identification of some 3,500 decomposed remains of tsunami victims in Thailand, Maldives and Sri Lanka that hit these countries in December of 2004. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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