Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 203–207 | Cite as

Disaster victim identification

  • Eleanor A. M. Graham
DNA Reviews


In the event of any mass fatality incident, despite the cause, disaster victim identification must be undertaken; the humanitarian and legal responsibility for this falls on the forensic community. Mass fatality incidents can be natural (e.g., tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes), accidental (e.g., building collapse, ship sinking) or can occur as a result of a terrorist attack. Terrorism alone has been responsible for thousands of deaths in recent years and can be encountered in many forms (e.g., suicide bombings, airplane hijackings). In mass fatality situations, the experitise of many specialities are called on to assist in the identification efforts and to allow for the speedy return of recovered human remains to the relatives of the deceased. Today, DNA plays a vital but never solitary role in disaster victim identification.

Key Words

Forensic pathology disaster victim identification DNA mass fatality incident decomposition fragmentation 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forensic Pathology UnitUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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