Sun, May 08, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Thailand seeks Bosnia's help to ID wave bodies

AP , BANGKOK

Thailand has sent 2,000 DNA samples taken from the corpses of foreigners killed in the Dec. 26 tsunami for testing at a Bosnia-Herzegovina lab in hopes of identifying the bodies, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Officials sent the samples from a victim identification center on tsunami-struck Phuket island to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo on Thursday, the Nation newspaper reported, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam.

More than 5,300 people died -- nearly half of them foreign tourists -- and another 2,800 went missing in Thailand when the giant waves crashed ashore along the country's southern coast. Most of the victims were in Phang Nga province, north of Phuket.

Thai officials sent the samples to the ICMP at the urging of national leaders who toured Thailand's tsunami-affected regions after the disaster, the paper said.

Forensics teams are still waiting for test results on DNA samples sent to laboratories in China and Britain, which had offered to analyze the remains for free, Wissanu said, according to the Nation. Some 1,070 samples were sent to China and another 200 were sent to Britain, he said.

Last week, the UN World Health Organization quoted a Thai forensics expert as saying about 2,000 victims remained unidentified in Thailand, and that a lack of information from the victims' relatives had hindered the identification process.

International forensics teams in Thailand have been using dental records, DNA samples and other information supplied by victims' families to help identify corpses.

According to official estimates the tsunami left more than 176,000 people dead and about 50,000 missing and presumed dead in 11 countries.

Still searching:

* 2,000 DNA samples from the corpses of foreigners have been sent to the International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo.

* A Thai forensics expert as said last week that about 2,000 victims had yet to be unidentified.

* Some 1,300 samples were sent to China and Britiain.

* More than 5,800 people were killed by the tsunami in Thailand and 2,800 went missing.


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