MH17: What’s inside the DVI facility?

Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) is done very systematically. The facility is also arranged in such a way to ensure data is protected and kept systematically as well. These are some of general description on what happen at antemortem data centre, postmortem data centre, mortuary and reconciliation centre…

The Data Centre was established at Building 11 Hilversum Camp which housed the main server, antemortem (AM) Centre, postmortem (PM) Data Entry Centre and Reconciliation Centre. Each team was given 10 computer workstations to perform their tasks. All data was consolidated at the Data centre.

AM Centre
The AM centre was headed by AM executive officer. The ante mortem data sent by respective AM team from each country was managed by AM section comprising of members from every participating country. There were 4 Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) officers involved in AM Section in Hilversum. The AM personnel will key in all data available into PlassData software. The Executive officer will update the team leaders on AM data daily at 0800 am and 0630 pm daily.

PM Centre
The PM centre is headed by a PM Executive Officer. He was assisted by several officers comprising of (a) front office manager, (b) mortuary manager, (c) Head of radiologist (PMCT), (d) Head Forensic Pathologist, (e) Head Forensic Odontologist, (f) Head fingerprint expert and (g) Head Quality Control Officer.

Storage Section
Front Office - The Front Office was responsible for inventory of coffin and PM forms. His duties included bar coding of the coffins, taking out the coffin from the storage containers to the mortuary and sending them back after examination to the respective designated containers. They were also responsible for all incomplete and complete PM forms. The completed PM forms were sent to PM section at Data Centre. The incomplete forms were sent back to the respective PM stations in the mortuary.
PM CT - PM CT was headed by a radiologist. The CT scan used was a mobile CT Scan provided by the UK DVI team. The body bags from the coffin underwent PM CT before been sent to the mortuary. It was scanned to identify any metal fragments and explosive materials for criminal investigation and safety purposes. It was also done to determine the numbers of possible victims in each body bag for rapid screening purposes.
CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) hazards - The body bag were subsequently examined by Rapid Forensic team for any signs of CBRNe contamination.

All coffins that were cleared as safe from CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) would then be sent to the mortuary. The mortuary were divided into 2 main areas which were (a) DVI area and (b) Criminal investigation area. The DVI area consisted of 5 lanes, each consisting of 5 stations.
Rapid Screening Section - The body bags were taken out from the coffins. The human remains and personal belongings from the body bag will be photograph as a whole. Each of body bag was given PM numbers and PM forms were completed, assigned with computer generated PM number stickers. Suspicious cases will be sent to criminal section while unsuspicious case will be sent to either line 1 to 5. “Suspicious cases” included Cockpit Crews and body with multiple metal fragments.
PM stations - The PM was done in a hall converted into temporary mortuary. It was divided into 2 main areas which is Criminal Investigation area and DVI area. DVI area has 5 operational lanes, designated as lanes 1-5. Each lane consisted of 5 working stations as follows;
1. Finger print station
2. Personal belonging station
3. Pathology/Anthropology/DNA station
4. Forensic Odontology station
5. Quality control (QC) station

Each of the body bag underwent thorough examination at each of the five stations. The QC officer in station 5 checked the documentations of PM forms, the body in the body bag, the DNA specimen and the personal belonging in a separate bag. Once the procedure was completed the body in the body bag together with personal belongings in separate bag will be placed into the original coffin. The PM forms and DNA specimen will be sent to the front office while the coffin was sent back to the storage containers. In the early phase of the PM Operation, only Lanes 1 and 2 operated in a digital way, where all the findings and photographs taken directly were keyed in into Plassdata Software using a tablet computer placed next to the workstation, hence no hardcopy of PM forms were used. Subsequently, all the other lanes were also converted into digital lanes as soon as the equipment were made available. The completed PM forms were sent to PM data Entry Centre. The PM data entry was keyed into PlassData Software. The Malaysia DVI team stationed 2 officers here to help in data entry procedure.

Reconciliation Centre
Reconciliation was headed by a Reconciliation Executive Officer, assisted by several experts comprising those with fingerprint, forensic odontology, forensic pathology and DNA profiling expertise. The reconciliation team will provide the Positive Identification Report for the Identification Commission.

The Ministry of Health salutes the DVI team and also the local psychosocial team and the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centres (CRPC) for the hard work,  professionalism and dedication.











Categories: Blog, Crisis & Disaster, MH17

3 replies »

  1. Was very interested in your description. Am writing a research paper on earthquake response, and am looking for applicable data. (1990s was Chmn, INTERPOL DVI Standing Committee.) Is there a report on types of IDs, problems encountered following MH17? Many thanks.


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