Forensic analysis begins at city morgue

February 3, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – Forensic analysis on bodies recovered from the Nakumatt Downtown fire site was set to begin Tuesday morning at the City Mortuary in Nairobi.

Families and close relatives of the 47 people reported missing after last week’s blaze have been asked to present themselves at the mortuary to provide DNA samples to help in the identification process.

Many of those killed in the inferno were burnt beyond recognition and could only be identified genetically.

“We are urging family members and relatives of the victims to help us by providing DNA samples. The process begins this morning (Tuesday) at the City Mortuary,” Nairobi Central Divisional Criminal Investigations Department Chief Festus Malinge said.

Mr Malinge said even bodies that had been partially identified by relatives and friends will still undergo DNA tests.

“None of the body parts will be released to family members until they all undergo DNA analysis,” he added.

The exercise was to be carried out by a team of pathologists, doctors, DNA experts and police officers from the Forensic Department based at the CID headquarters.

On Monday, two more body parts were recovered from the building’s rubble and taken to the City Mortuary.

Rescue workers continued to dig through the rubble in search for more bodies believed to be trapped in a section of the building that has not been cleared.

Meanwhile, foreign doctors were expected to jet into the country Tuesday to help treat survivors of Saturday’s fuel tank tragedy in Molo where 123 people including eight police officers died.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the experts would assist in plastic surgery and other reconstructive operations on patients recovering in various hospitals in Nakuru, Molo and Nairobi.

“We have made arrangements to get some doctors from India and the United States and they will come here and team up with our doctors to save lives,” the Premier stated.

“I am told that these patients after a period of time need reconstructive surgery and that a lot of operations are going to be required and therefore we need to get as many hands to be able to cope with this emergency,” Mr Odinga said when he visited survivors at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

“I have been told that there are some specialised foods that these patients require, which is running in short supply, and I have said that I am going to give instructions immediately that that food can be brought to this hospital,” he observed.

The PM further echoed an appeal by the KNH Chief Executive Officer Dr Jotham Micheni for Kenyans to donate blood for those in hospital.

American flags in Kenya were to fly at half mast this week as the US joined in mourning the more than 150 fire victims in Nairobi and Molo.

The US Embassy in a statement said it would conduct a blood drive among its American and Kenyan staff on Wednesday to assist hospitals appealing for the vital body fluid.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Red Cross says at least 200 students of Thika High School have approached the society indicating that they would like to donate blood for victims of the recent fire tragedies.

The Society’s staff and volunteers are providing the support at various blood donation tents.  

The Kenya Red Cross has erected a blood donation tent outside the US Embassy bomb blast memorial site. People can also donate blood at various Kenya Red Cross Regions and Branches countrywide, as well as designated blood donor facilities.


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