1953 flood victim identified

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The body of a woman that lay in a cemeteries in Yerseke since the disastrous flood of 1953, has finally been identified through DNA matching research by the Dutch Forensic Institute NFI.

The research that is being carried out for the police, has shown that the unidentified body is that of a 41-year-old woman from Kruiningen. She had been laid to rest as “unknown” in Yerseke, in the municipality of Riemerswaal. She was identified through DNA samples that were taken from a 77-year-old man from Wezep, whose mother who was reported missing since the flood struck. He has meanwhile been notified of the match. The 1953 North Sea flood struck in the night of Saturday, 31 January 1953 and morning of Sunday, 1 February 1953. The heavy storm that caused it also wreaked havoc in Belgium, England and Scotland, but in the Netherlands it claimed most lives, 1,836 in total, most of them in Zeeland. There was also widespread property damage. The disaster prompted authorities to develop extensive coastal protection like the Delta Works, a system of dams and storm surge barriers. The identification of the woman from Kruiningen forms part of a nationwide project through which police aims to identify people who were buried nameless porior to 2010.  In 2013 police and NFI exhumed 31 victims buried in the municipalities Schouwen-Duiveland, Goes and Reimerswaal, to collect DNA samples. Police asked relatives to come in so DNA swaps could be taken from the inside from their cheeks. The woman and her son from Wezep are the first conclusive match. Family ties have been established between a relative and an unknown victim in Schouwen-Duiveland, but the exact identity remains unclear because in that family there were two people reported missing who were about the same identity. In addition there were two unknown victims in Schouwen-Duiveland who were related to each other. What their exact family ties were is however unclear.

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