The last remains of the 39 Vietnamese people who died while being smuggled in a lorry to the United Kingdom have been repatriated to their home country. Earlier this week, the remains of 16 victims were received by relatives at their home towns in northern-central Vietnam.
The first bodies were flown to Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport on November 27, and ambulances took them to their family villages. While no cause of death has been officially established, the circumstances suggested asphyxiation.
The victims hailed mostly from the central provinces, some of the country's poorest, while some were from the north.
On Wednesday, bodies of another 16 people were repatriated to Vietnam.
In Vietnam, poor job prospects, environmental disasters and the promise of financial rewards are all factors pushing people to leave.
Ten of the victims came from Ha Tinh province, where a massive toxic dump in 2016 killed tonnes of fish, decimating livelihoods and sparking an uptick in illegal migration, according to experts.
The distraught father of a male victim who had left for Britain seeking a better life, said, "How could I describe how big this loss is for my family.but the return of his body has helped ease the pain", as per Reuters.
"The authorities here and overseas in the United Kingdom has created every possible favorable condition to bring the bodies home, which is the one thing that Anna's family wished for the most".
Many families opted to pay more for the bodies so they could give their children traditional burials since cremation is rare in rural Vietnam.
"Everyone is sad but finally my son will be back home".
"I made a decision to receive his body back instead of ashes so that we could see him for the last time", Le Minh Tuan said.
Catholic priest Paul Nguyen Xuan Duong blesses coffins of John Hoang Van Tiep and John Nguyen Van Hung, victims who were found dead in the back of a British truck last month, during their funeral mass at a cemetary in Nghe An province, Vietnam November 28, 2019.
"I hope they are happy in heaven", she added.