Briefly describe the background of your selected mass disaster (what caused it, what countries were affected, etc.). Then answer the following questions using examples to support your answers based on the research you did for your particular mass disaster.
International Mass Disaster Forensic Science Question
- Concerning the challenges of aid and infrastructure: if there isn’t the infrastructure for distributing and managing foreign aid when it arrives, then is it even useful? What could fix this situation?
- With natural disasters, crime often increases; why do you think this happens? Should foreign countries send military there to keep the peace to manage the foreign aid if the government is corrupt or the crime is unmanageable for the local governments? What are the pros and cons of this?
- To what extent should countries outside of the country in which the disaster occurred send aid, and is the expectation equal for all countries?
Assignment 2 (100-200words each) Thoughts about the question
- Ethical dilemmas of DNA
DNA information has brought up several ethical dilemmas in the context of mass disasters and mass fatalities. For example, before DNA was available to make positive identifications, presumptive identifications were made based on clothing, context, or the forensic anthropology reports. If the organization leading these investigations later, through DNA technology, realizes that a body was misidentified but was already returned to the family, buried, etc., informing the family may cause increased emotional distress and disrupt any peace they gained from closure. On the other hand, keeping the information means that the family is misled.
An alternative scenario that has also happened is that DNA results have positively identified human remains as a particular individual. However, when the scientists have told the surviving family members of this identification, the individuals claimed that they didn’t believe the DNA results because they were sure their loved ones were simply missing and not dead.
What is the ethical thing to do? How should scientists handle these sorts of situations? Could these teams benefit from other types of non-scientist specialists to help mitigate these sorts of situations?
Assignment 3 (100-200words each) Thoughts about the question
- Satisfying conflicting needs
International Mass Disaster Forensic Science Background
Sometimes in post-conflict countries, very difficult situations can arise. For example, bodies are exhumed from mass graves for the purposes of evidence collection, forensic anthropology case analysis, and DNA for identification purpose. This falls under the agenda of the organizations involved in this work. In some cases, the communities have stated that they only want the remains to be returned immediately, and do not want the analyses performed on the bodies. They know that their loved ones are one of those recovered from the mass grave, and they simply want all of them back, without knowing explicit information about what happened or explicit identifications.
In this case, should the organization performing the operation yield to the community request, or should they continue with their forensic analysis for the purposes of accruing evidence that could be useful in future trials and convictions of war criminals associated with the deaths of these individuals? Is the responsibility of human rights/truth commission organizations to the survivors or to the national/international justice process? How can these organizations go about satisfying both needs?