The authorities have revised downward the number of Swiss victims from the tsunami in southeast Asia.This content was published on February 22, 2005 - 21:11
The Federal Police Office confirmed software problems were slowing down the registration of missing people in Thailand.
Nearly two months after the devastating undersea earthquake off the coast of Indonesia, the Swiss authorities said 16 Swiss citizens had died in the disaster and another 120 were still missing or their fate was unclear.
A previous statement published in January had put the death toll at 23 Swiss nationals.
Spokesman Guido Balmer said it emerged that seven victims believed to be Swiss did not live in Switzerland. It was now up to the police authorities in other countries to verify their identities, he added.
The number of Swiss nationals still listed as missing has fallen from 135 to 96. The fate of another 24 people remains unclear.
There have been several cases of people who contacted the authorities only weeks after the disaster, according to the Police Office.
The foreign ministry said it suspended a special telephone hotline for families and friends of victims at the beginning of February.
The Federal Police Office also said that software problems in Thailand were slowing down the registration of missing people.
Balmer said Swiss staff were manually copying data collected by the Thai police authorities into European computer files.
But he did not confirm newspaper reports that victim identification teams were facing difficulties because the bodies were decomposing.
Balmer said the experts were not relying solely on tissue samples to build DNA profiles, but also on dental records and bones.
swissinfo with agencies
More than 240,000 people have been killed or are still missing in the tsunami.
The Swiss authorities confirmed:
16 Swiss dead
96 Swiss still missing
24 cases which remain unclear
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