Blood Drives Hopes to Indentify Bosnians

1 decade 3 years 1 month ago Monday, December 12 2005 Dec 12, 2005 Monday, December 12, 2005 2:43:19 PM CST December 12, 2005 in News

Hundreds of Columbians are giving blood to help solve a mystery thousands of miles away. They are hoping their blood samples will help identify missing victims of Bosnia's civil wars. Hundreds of Bosnian refugees who have settled in Missouri will give blood samples over the next few days.

The blood drive is part of an international effort to identify thousands of remains from the war in the former Yugoslavia through DNA matching.

"For a lot of people, it provides closure. I mean if you have a family member that's missing. I mean there's still a lot of people that are out there hoping that somehow somebody will be found," explained Columbia resident Jasmina McNutt.`

More than 200,000 people, mostly in Bosnia, lost their lives in the civil wars. Advanced technology is allowing authorities to locate mass graves. It also gives the International Commission on Missing Persons a chance to use the blood of refugees to match DNA from the bones of the bodies found in the graves.

Kerri Yost of Columbia is working on a documentary following a family displaced by the war.

"I think it's perhaps the only thing that's given victims peace. Where up till now you never knew where or how someone died, you never could be for sure and bury them," Yost explained.

So far more than 8,000 matches have been made.

Even though it's been 10 years, it's the peace of mind the families get that gives the rest hope.

The blood drive continues through Monday in St. Louis. It is one of more than a dozen U.S. cities with a large Bosnian population.

Refugees across Missouri are taking part in the blood drive this weekend.

The blood sample drive is part of an international effort to identify victims of the war in Bosnia.

More than 250 Bosnian refugees live in Columbia. Missouri has the largest population of Bosnian refugees in the United States.

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