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01 December 2023

UAE Urban Search & Rescue Team contribute to locating 229 missing victims of Hurricane Daniel in Libya's Derna


The UAE Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team in Libya, announced the location of 229 missing victims of Hurricane Daniel which hit the Libyan city of Derna on September 10.

The UAE team are supporting the Libyan authorities and teams in helping the affected and displaced, providing them with the needed aid and relief to identify the locations of the victims of the disaster. They have recovered bodies from homes, on the seashore, and under rubble, while the specialist teams continue to work to identify the victims.

In the meantime, the UAE team of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI), are continuing their mission on the Libyan soil. The team are the first of their kind in the world to arrive in Derna to carry out such specialised tasks. They are composed of experts, specialists, and consultants in forensic medicine, dentistry, and DNA. They have sophisticated equipment and tools specifically designed to deal with mass deaths.

Dr. Issa Ahmed Al-Awadi, head of the UAE DVI team, said that it is difficult to identify such disaster victims through visual identification alone. "This is the case with Hurricane Daniel, which hit the Libyan city of Derna. Many of the victims of the hurricane were severely injured or disfigured, making it difficult to identify them visually.

“To identify disaster victims conclusively, it is necessary to rely on scientific primary identifiers, such as fingerprints, dental impressions, or DNA results. These identifiers are unique to each individual and do not change over time, even in the event of severe trauma," he told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) in Derna.

“The UAE team in Derna, through their operations centre and coordination with the Libyan authorities, are carrying out a number of key tasks that rely on the highest standards and the latest technologies used. The identification of the victims may take a long time, especially in the case of a large number of victims, until databases of primary identifiers (such as DNA) are created to match them with their counterparts from the families of the missing.”

This technical and humanitarian support comes within the framework of the UAE's ongoing relief efforts to support Libya, and to alleviate the difficult humanitarian situation that its people are living in as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Daniel.