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Anthropologists and Mass Disasters.docx

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ANT 3520
Katie Rubin

Anthropologists and Mass Disasters • Mass Disasters o Even, natural or man-made, which causes a large number of deceased individuals o Or that overwhelm the capabilities of the local system • Mass Disasters/Fatalities o Disasters (Natural): Famine, epidemic disease, fires, floods, landslides, volcanoes o Fatalities (Man-Made): War, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, riots, aircraft, watercraft, panic • Goals in Mass Disasters o Primary  Get aid and relief to the survivors o Secondary  Personal identification  Cause and Manner of Death • Can be important to public safety • Civil litigation for reparation to victim families • Planning for Mass Disaster o Open versus Closed Event?  Open – everyone could be there  Closed – only set number of people o Fragmented versus complete remains?  Degree of fragmentation and number of victims determine role of DNA o Fate of un-identified remains?  Usually (in closed events), all families are brought together and asked what they want to do o Family Assistance Center  Point of contact for families so they don’t flood ME, PO, etc. • Mandate o An authorization to act given to a representative  Gives person/organization authority to work in a jurisdiction within a certain framework o Must be obtained before work by DMORT/FEMORS personnel can begin  DMORT – National Mortuary Disaster • Disaster mortuary operations Response team  FEMORS – Florida version of DMORT • Florida emergency mortuary operations response system • Jurisdiction o All deaths are under jurisdiction of local ME or Coroner  Make all final decisions on ID and Cause/Manner o Jurisdiction must be established before investigation begins • The task of forensic anthropologists in mass Disasters o Personal identification/repatriation o Trauma analysis (cause and manner, public safety) o Prosecution of offenders (criminal tribunals, terrorists) • On scene o Appropriate Search and Recovery Methods  Size and Scope • “how should we go about the recovery” o Importance of multidisciplinary teams  Assessment of remains  Assessment of experts needed  Regional versus. National response  Specialists • E.g. Forensic Engineers – ensure building safety • At the incident Morgue o
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