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Long wait for Thai dead to be identified

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Long wait for Thai dead to be identified

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At least half the dead and missing in Thailand are foreign tourists. For their families back home the agony is set to continue as identifying bodies could take weeks or even months. The hot weather means that remains being salvaged are virtually unrecognisable. As a result, tissue samples, DNA and even dental records will have to be used.

“There are some landmarks which can be used relatively reliably, like tattoos or personal belongings if eventually found,” said volunteer doctor Luba Matic. “But a majority of cases fall in a grey area which we sometimes have a hard time to distinguish, sometimes even between genders, because the stage of decomposition is so advanced that a lot of landmarks are lost,” he added. Some 5,000 foreign tourists are still listed as missing, including 2,500 Swedes and over 1,000 Germans. Some 29 Britons have been confirmed dead, but that number is expected to rise.