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Management of dead bodies after disasters: a field manual for first responders

10-04-2009 Publication Ref. 0880

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Dignified and proper management of the dead in disasters is fundamental to help the families know the fate of their relatives and mourn their dead. This manual is intended for use by those first on the scene following a disaster when no specialists are at hand. It provides basic guidance to manage the recovery, basic identification, storage and disposal of dead bodies following disasters to ensure that no information is lost and that the dead are treated with respect.

This field manual is the first ever to provide step-by-step guidance on how to recover and identify victims killed in disasters while duly considering the needs and rights of survivors. The book also provides practical annexes, including a Dead Body Identification Form, a Missing Persons Form, and a chart of sequential numbers for unique referencing of bodies.

The manual is the result of a joint effort involving the International Committee of the Red Cross ( ICRC), the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.


  • Copyright: PAHO / WHO / IFRC / ICRC
  • Release year: 2009
  • Production locations: Geneva
  • Edition: 3rd edition
  • Languages available: English, French, Spanish*, Chinese*
  • Type of product: Book
  • Price: CHF 5.-
  • Reference: 0880

47 pp., photos, A4

* To order the Spanish version of this publication, contact us by E-mail.

* To order the Chinese version of this publication, contact us by E-mail.