New Edition of Management of Dead Bodies after Disasters Manual

November 23rd 2016

VIFM International Program Head, Professor Stephen Cordner recently provided a keynote lecture at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launch of the second edition of the Management of Dead Bodies After Disasters – A Field Manual for First Responders at the ICRC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Cordner was one of the editors of the revised edition.

The humanitarian community has long recognised that the proper management of the dead is a key component of disaster response, together with the recovery and care for survivors and provision of basic services. The revised manual includes lessons learned from the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal- where first responders- including local residents and volunteers- played an important role in managing the dead in those tragic events. How the dead were managed in the West African Ebola epidemic also informed the revised edition of the Manual.


The Manual is today’s go-to guide for individuals and authorities with responsibility for first response in the aftermath of a large multi-fatality disaster. It is also a valuable resource for disaster planning and preparedness. The first edition of the Manual has been in steady demand worldwide since its publication in 2006. It has demonstrated its utility in major disasters and mass fatality events around the world. It has also become a reference for many mass fatality response plans.

The Manual is the result of a collaborative effort between the ICRC, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Pan American health Organisation (PAHO) and the International federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The Manual provides practical and easy-to-follow guidelines for first responders and humanitarian workers on the recovery, documentation and dignified management of deceased individuals following large multi-fatality disasters.

The launch of the second edition was hosted by the ICRC Director General, Mr Yves Daccord. Keynote lectures were provided by Professor Cordner, ICRC Forensic Advisor Board Member and former WHO consultant on disaster response and Professor Cristina Cattaneo from the University of Milan who is also a member of the ICRC Forensic Advisory Board. Professor Cattaneo is a leading voice on the dignified management and identification of migrants in the Mediterranean where in recent years the annual death toll is in the thousands.


Click here for a copy of the Manual