ISLAMABAD: The participants of a five-day course titled ‘Handling dead bodies with respect and dignity in emergencies’ on Monday said that Pakistan was taking a lead in the respectful handling of bodies in emergencies. Organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the course is being attended by emergency responders from Afghanistan, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, who will share their expertise in tragedies. Since 2010, the ICRC has so far organised 12 courses in Pakistan, training more than 340 emergency responders and forensic specialists. The first day of the said course was jointly inaugurated by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Operations Member Brig Ishtiaq Ahmed and ICRC head of delegation in Pakistan Reto Stocker. On this occasion, Brig Ishtiaq Ahmed highlighted the steps taken by the government of Pakistan to improve the response of the department dealing with emergencies. “After a disaster, large or small, all victims should be recovered and identified for a number of reasons – ranging from the needs of the family to paying compensation or other legal formalities,” he added. Reto Stocker acknowledged that Pakistan had improved its capacity to handle the dead in recent emergencies. “We face frequent disasters in Pakistan and in the region. We need to prepare for disasters, and that includes how to handle the bodies of victims with respect,” said Reto Stocker. He also reiterated the ICRC’s support for establishing a centre of excellence for corpse management in Pakistan and the organisation’s willingness to provide technical expertise to help government institutions and private organisations improve even further. The five-day course is covering the core principles of body management, focusing on new techniques and technologies of identifying and handling the victims with respect and dignity, besides minimising the trauma of the bereaved families. Through the course, the participants will also be familiarised with the challenges that commonly hamper communication and coordination in the aftermath of complex emergencies.