Vietnam offers loans for families to get UK tragedy victims home

By Nguyen Hoai, Nguyen Hai, Duc Hung   November 20, 2019 | 07:45 pm PT
Vietnam offers loans for families to get UK tragedy victims home
A man in Can Loc District, Ha Tinh Province, fills a form to facilitate the repatriation of his child who died in a U.K truck on October 23, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
Families can bring back the 39 people who died in a U.K. container truck as ashes or in coffins and pay authorities later.

It will cost 1,370 pound ($1,771) to receive the ashes of the victim or 2,208 pound ($2,855) for the body brought back in a coffin, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said Thursday the government has decided to make advance payments to make sure the victims are brought home as soon as possible.

Businesses who want to help can make direct offers with the families or city/provincial authorities involved, Son said.

Vietnam is discussing with U.K. authorities on technical issues regarding the transfer of the remains and flight schedule, he added.

Bui Huy Cuong, deputy chairman of Can Loc District in Ha Tinh Province, said local authorities have met with a representative of eight families to discuss the arrangement.

10 out of the 39 people who died in the tragedy came from the central province.

"Previously, the eight families in Can Loc wanted to receive ashes of their loved ones, but after reading the notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they said they can manage around $1,000 difference and chose to receive the bodies instead," Cuong said.

As of now, there's been no information about when the victims will be returned to Vietnam, Cuong said.

In Ha Tinh's Nghi Xuan District, the family of a 15-year-old boy have told local authorities they want to receive his body. The victims in the disaster were 15 to 44 years old.

An important part of Vietnamese funerals is family members and friends walking around the body of the deceased to bid a final farewell.

Le Hong Vinh, Deputy Chairman of Nghe An Province, said they have informed families of the victims about the fees and loan, but are yet to hear their final decisions.

"The province has prepared a few measures to assist the families in accordance with our regulations," Vinh said.

Nghe An Province, which neighbors Ha Tinh, is home to the majority of the victims, 21.

No information was available on the repatriation decision taken by families of other victims in the northern port city of Hai Phong and the central province of Quang Binh, which lost three residents each, as also those in the provinces of Thua Thien-Hue and Hai Duong, which lost one resident each.

On October 23, U.K. emergency services discovered the bodies of 39 people in a refrigerated container truck at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex County, east of London.

Vietnamese officials said the return of the bodies will depend on the U.K.'s handling of the case. British police have so far charged two men with manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.

Vietnam police have detained 11 suspects in Nghe An and Ha Tinh for involvement in human trafficking.

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