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Germany

Database to Track Missing in Disasters

Interpol will set up a database to help identify victims of natural disasters like the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, German Interior Minister Otto Schily said here Thursday. The database will help the 184-member state body "to identify victims more quickly and to enable relatives to know the fate of their loved ones," Schily said in his closing speech to the world police body's 74th general assembly in the German capital. He said the database would also list information about people who have been traumatized by natural disasters and "were no longer sure of their identity." Schily came up with the idea of such a system after countries struggled to trace missing nationals in the wake of the tsunami in southern Asia in December last year which claimed 217,000 lives. The president of Interpol, South Africa's Jackie Selebi, said the international criminal police organization also planned to establish a "crisis fund" to help local authorities in areas struck by natural disasters. The general assembly this week also decided that Interpol will cooperate more closely with the United Nations and the European police organization Europol in efforts to fight terrorism.

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