Management of Dead Bodies after Disasters: A Field Manual for First Responders

11 June 2020
Proper and dignified management of the dead in disasters is one of the three key pillars of humanitarian response and a fundamental factor in facilitating identification of the deceased and helping families discover the fate of their loved ones. This second and updated edition of this hugely successful manual provides practical and easy-to-follow guidelines on the recovery, documentation and storage of the remains of individuals who have died in disasters, helping first responders ensure that the dead are treated with respect and that information crucial for their subsequent identification is recorded. This revised edition incorporates experience gained in recent catastrophes, such as the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the 2014/15 Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. It also contains a number of annexes, which cover such topics as handling the bodies of people who died from an infectious disease, burial planning and using DNA analysis in mass fatality events. This manual is not only a go-to guide for lay personnel who have to provide the first response in the aftermath of a catastrophe but also a useful resource for disaster preparedness in countries with well-developed forensic services. This publication is the result of a joint effort involving the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).