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Indonesia : Red Cross actively following up tracing requests in Bali

08-11-2002 News Release 02/45

Three weeks after the bomb explosions in Bali, a joint tracing team set up by the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia - PMI) and the ICRC is actively following up 35 of the 99 tracing requests it has received from various sources.

Thirty-three of those reported missing have been found alive, three deaths have been confirmed, six requests have been cancelled because the families have already performed the traditional " soul release " ceremony for the victims and 22 requests could not be followed up since the families had not provided enough information about themselves or those they were seeking. The team is helping to establish links between unidentified victims and people who are anxiously seeking information on the whereabouts of their Indonesian relatives, friends and employees presumed to have been in the area of the blasts and unaccounted for since. Other cases are being covered by the various embassies or consulates concerned. The joint operation was launched on 20 October by a member of the ICRC Jakarta delegation. On Tuesday a tracing delegate seconded to the ICRC by the Australian Red Cross arrived in Bali to continue the operation for two months at least.

Until now the tracing team has been based at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, but it will soon be transferred to the headquarters of the PMI provincial chapter in Bali. It is carrying out its work in close coordination with the other teams involved, especially the joint Indonesian-foreign forensic team working in the hospital to identify the bodies. Proceeding on the basis of Interpol standards and relevant international protocols, the team has also conducted detailed interviews to gather ante-mortem data.

The International Federation and the ICRC are helping the PMI to coordinate assistance from sister National Societies, in particular the Australian Red Cross.