The strategies to DVI challenges in Typhoon Morakot

Chun-Yen Lin, Tsun-Ying Huang, Hsuan-Cheng Shih, Chiao-Hsuan Yuan, Liang-Ju Chen, Hua-Sheng Tsai, Chih-Hsin Pan, Hui-Ming Chiang, Hsin-Lin Liu, Wen-Chi Su, Kun-Tien Wu, Chi-Hsiang Chao, Nu-En Huang, Kun-Da Yang, Hsing-Mei Hsieh, Li-Chin Tsai, Adrian Linacre, Yu-Jen Yu, Yen-Yang Lin, Pao-Ching ChuJames Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Small village populations in which there is a high amount of kinship can cause complications in cases of disaster victim identification. This problem was highlighted by the loss of life after Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan where over 500 people from small isolated communities lost their lives. Most of the victims were buried by landslides in the remote mountainous areas of southern Taiwan. Only 146 pieces of human remains were recovered after searching for 4 months. Most of the human remains were received for examination as severely damaged fragments prevented possible identification by morphological features. DNA testing using the traditional duo parent/child or sibling screening by STR data opens the possibility of including not only the actual victim but also false positives. Variable likelihood ratios were obtained when comparing DNA types from human remains to those from potential relatives; however, with the DNA typing of numerous members of the same living family, multiple matches to potential families were avoided. Of the 146 samples obtained and collapsed to 130 victims, they were linked to 124 individuals resulting in their identification when compared to a pool of 588 potential relatives. Six of the human remains could not be linked to any living relative and remain unknown.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)637-641
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • DNA typing
    • Forensic science
    • Mass disaster
    • Typhoon Morakot
    • Victim identification


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