Hi-tech website helps families to trace victims

A Hong Kong biometrics company has begun operating a website offering a helpline to families waiting for news of relatives caught up in the tsunami disaster.

A Hong Kong biometrics company has begun operating a website offering a helpline to families waiting for news of relatives caught up in the tsunami disaster.

Photographs of the dead and injured taken by volunteers at hospitals and emergency centres on Phuket island have been loaded onto the site to create a database of victims.

People with missing relatives can now upload photographs of themselves which will be scanned automatically against the database using a hi-tech facial-mapping system. Close matches will then be e-mailed back for relatives to see if it is their loved one. The free site, www.PeopleMatch.rc.tv, which is updated hourly was set up by RC Group, a specialist biometrics company.

The internet has never before been such a focus of intense despair or relief. Hundreds of sites worldwide offer news of survivors or those who have perished in the waves which swept south Asia. The relatively new phenomenon of blogging - personal web diaries and links - has come into its own, offering some of the most vivid descriptions of the devastation as well as information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

On the more established news organisations' websites, such as the BBC, Sky News and CNN, seemingly endless lists of people have posted their desperate pleas for information, and these are sometimes followed by hopeful responses.

A spokesman for the BBC said its site had been visited by up to three million people a day since the disaster with 50,000 e-mails sent to their message board and 900,000 people logging on to it.

This is a selection of the messages posted on the various websites:

"We are desperately searching for Flory, a blond three-year-old girl. She was lost in Medilla Beach, Tangalle." Sabine Pienitz, Frankfurt, Germany

"Has anyone any news from the Banyak Islands? They are very close to the earthquake epicentre. I used to live there and can only fear the worst. I have many friends there." Gary from Jersey

"Peter Gooderson, please let us know if you are alright. Grandpa is very worried." Angela, Ballito, and the Goodersons

"Would like to know if Sue Glover and partner are safe. They are from Manchester area. They were due to marry on Boxing Day in Thailand." Anonymous

"I was in Mirissa on the day of the tsunami, and I think I may have been talking to your parents on a hill as we waited to feel safe enough to return after the tsunami.

Unfortunately I did not ask their names, but they appear to fit your description ... when I first met the lady who may be your mother I was struck by the fact that she was wearing red lipstick - does this sound like your mother?" Reply from Victoria Temple, of Stroud, Gloucestershire, to Margariet van der Valk's appeal for information about her parents

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before