Proper management of the dead is a key component of disaster response together with recovery and care of survivors, and supply of basic services. Red Cross staff and volunteers are among the first responders to disasters like the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash which claimed the lives of 157 people.
Witnessing the overwhelmed local emergency response services following this tragic event, the ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) took the initiative to conduct recently a two-day training on the management of dead bodies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The training, held in May 2019, brought together 29 staff and volunteers of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS).
The training involved both theoretical and practical (simulation) sessions where the participants had to handle a scenario in which there were a number of fatalities.
Personal safety of the responder, body recovery and photography, ante and post-mortem data collection and international best practice in dealing with such situations were among the topics covered in the course of the training.
One of the participants, Mitku Gebrehana, is an ERCS staff. " I think the skills we acquired from the training will help us in handling the work of dead body management effectively".
Another ERCS employee, Solomon Negash, pointed out that one of greatest challenges in dead body management is establishing identification to a certain dead body. "What I learned from the training was that applying standard procedures in labeling dead bodies helps in forensic procedure and ease the identification,"