Families asked to report missing relatives, loved ones to CDU
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The confirmed death toll as result of Hurricane Dorian has increased to 56 — nine in Grand Bahama and 47 in Abaco.
The number of missing people remains at 608. That figure was originally 1,300, but declined as displaced residents in shelters were cross-referenced with the list of people missing.
In a statement, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the Royal Bahamas Police Force is the only entity with the authority to release an “official count” of recovered bodies.
The agency said whenever a body is found in either islands impacted by the storm, police are contacted and accompany the retrieval team at each stage.
It said as part of the ongoing procedure the police force has begun the process of identification of recovered bodies from Grand Bahama and Abaco.
NEMA advised residents who have not seen loved ones since the passage of the dangerous storm to report them missing at the missing person section at the Central Detective Unit located on University Drive.
According to the agency, there are four ways to identify a body recovered from the storm-ravaged islands: facial recognition, when facial features are “still intact and relatives can easily recognize their loved ones”; fingerprint, where available, which are compared to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System; DNA, in the event of advanced decomposition; and dental records where there are skeletal dental remains.
When the DNA is taken from a body in the advance decomposition stage, a profiling analysis is conducted. This requires the collection of blood, tissue, bone or a tooth from the remains to be compared to controlled samples from relatives, NEMA said.
The agency did not state the turnaround time for DNA analysis.
“Another form of identification can be done through Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) with a Black Notice that circulates internationally, [providing] information (fingerprints, DNA, dental and facial recognition) on unidentified bodies,” NEMA noted.