Jeddah, saudi Arabia: The Health Ministry has completed the DNA profiling of all the pilgrims who were injured and killed in last week’s stampede in Mina, and have urged the victims’ relatives to provide blood samples so that these can be used to match those taken from their loved ones. Health Ministry spokesman Faisal Al-Zahrani told Arab News on Thursday that all the DNA profiles are being kept at Makkah’s Al-Noor Specialist Hospital in Hijra district. DNA profiling is a forensic technique used to identify individuals.
“The immediate blood relatives of those who are missing should visit Al-Noor Hospital in Makkah and provide their blood samples for the hospital authorities to match their DNA with the ones collected from the stampede victims,” Al-Zahrani said. He said blood samples are needed from close relatives. For example, for a woman to be identified though her DNA sample, the hospital would need a sample from either a son, daughter, or parent. Al-Zahrani said there was no need for the relatives to visit any other hospital in Makkah, Mina or Jeddah. “All the information has now been centralized at Al-Noor Specialist Hospital in Makkah,” he said.
He said the matching of DNA once the blood sample is provided should not take more than a day because of the high-tech labs at Al-Noor Hospital. Diplomats told Arab News that they have informed the relatives of missing pilgrims to approach Al-Noor Hospital for blood sampling. “This is a good step,” said one diplomat. “It will make it easier to determine the whereabouts and fate of each and every pilgrim.” For nearly seven days, harried relatives have been visiting the Moaisam mortuary in Mina and other hospitals in Makkah, Jeddah and Taif in search of missing relatives.
It was not clear how those pilgrims whose direct relatives are not in the Kingdom would be able to provide blood samples in Makkah. However, a medical expert told Arab News that the Saudi authorities may authorize credible medical centers in their respective countries to conduct the DNA testing and dispatch them to Saudi Arabia. “That makes sense because it is logistically not possible to bring in the relatives to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
© Arab News 2015Oct 2015