MANAGEMENT OF THE DEAD
While death is a topic that we all don’t enjoy, the reality of disaster management is that it is also a common theme we all face during and after disasters occur. Therefore, an integral part of the role for a disaster manager is to understand victim identification, and also the proper and dignified ways to manage deceased people as a result of disaster situations. During June 2019, the AHA Centre co-organised a seminar on dignified management of the dead, in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and supported by the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB).
Taking place from 20-21 of June, the seminar was attended by over 80 representatives of agencies involved in emergency and disaster response from ASEAN Member States, alongside representatives from local government agencies in Indonesia, other partner agencies and the nation of Timor Leste. A key outcome was the agreement that proper training of first responders was key to improving management of the dead, especially drawing on lessons learned from the earthquake, tsunami and liquefaction disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
“Dignified management of the dead remains a relevant theme for the ASEAN Member States given that the region is geographically prone to natural disasters. It’s crucial that the first responders are equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills in victim identification during the early stages of search and rescue. Proper and dignified management of the dead can also help minimise the distress caused to families who lose their loved ones by helping provide answers and giving them closure”, said the head of ICRC’s regional delegation for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Alexandre Faite.
As part of the seminar, the ICRC also took the opportunity to introduce official guidelines – Management of Dead Bodies after Disasters: A Field Manual for First Responders – as well as promote a regional proposal to develop a practical tool from available global knowledge in the field of dignified management of the dead, to be adapted to the South East Asian context.
The Executive Director of the AHA Centre, Ms. Adelina Kamal, highlighted the importance of such developments within a seminar such as this.
“ASEAN countries have a wealth of experience in responding to disasters over the past decades. We also have rich local wisdom as well as cultural and religious diversities. The workshop intends to promote cross-fertilisation of knowledge and experience of the ASEAN countries to enrich the field guide. At the same time, the AHA Centre will also use the accumulated experience and knowledge to enhance our regional preparedness for One ASEAN One Response”
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre