- Title: Rural Vietnamese mourn loved ones feared dead in back of British truck
- Date: 26th October 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) LOCAL VILLAGER, TRAN THI NHUNG, SAYING: "When they went abroad, their parents had to sell or pawned their houses to the bank, so their children can leave the country to earn a living, but now they are dead in a far away and strange country, after suffering a horrific death. We are the people who hoped for our children to have the same life that people have over there and now things turns out like that so they don't know how to continue to live anymore" TRAN THI NHUNG SITTING IN PRAYER WITH OTHER VILLAGERS (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) LOCAL VILLAGER, TRAN THI NHUNG, SAYING: "When we received the news we were devastated, just like the rest of Vietnam. Especially we do not know how to share with the families of the victims, except to pray the Lord to bless the families of the victims and the survivors to overcome this hardship and challenge, and the Lord to give his mercy to the deceased" CHURCH ALTAR (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) LOCAL VILLAGER, PHAN VAN DUONG, SAYING: "Today the priest and us held this ceremony to pray for the 39 victims that lost their lives on the way to seek for a better life, which 25 of them are from our home town of Yen Thanh."
- Embargoed: 9th November 2019 17:27
- Keywords: suspected trafficking victim interview with villagers Vietnamese church Vietnam family in mourning relative sitting in distress mother of victim laying sick victim's facebook posts
- Location: YEN THANH DISTRICT, NGHE AN PROVINCE, VIETNAM
- City: YEN THANH DISTRICT, NGHE AN PROVINCE, VIETNAM
- Country: Vietnam
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA003B2QFB5Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Several townships in rural Vietnam sank into mourning on Saturday (October 26), with communities believing that many of the 39 people found dead in the back of a truck near London this week came from poor, rice-growing areas of the country.
The bodies were discovered on Wednesday (October 23) after emergency services were alerted to people in a truck container on an industrial site in Grays, about 32 km (20 miles) east of central London.
Police initially believed the dead were Chinese but Beijing said the nationalities had not yet been confirmed and on Saturday a senior British police officer in charge of identification asked for help from Britain's Vietnamese community.
Father Anthony Dang Huu Nam, a Catholic priest in the remote town of Yen Thanh in northern-central Vietnam's Nghe An province, 300 km (180 miles) south of Hanoi, told Reuters he was liaising with family members of the victims.
On Saturday evening, Nam led around 500 worshippers in prayers for the dead as they held lit candles in the modest, white-walled church in Yen Thanh.
Nam said families told him they knew relatives were traveling to Britain at the time the container truck was been traveling, and had been unable to contact their loved ones.
A villager, Tran Thi Nhung, told Reuters that many of the victims' parents from the village had to sell their house so their children could go afford the deadly journey to the U.K. in hope for a better life.
"And now the parents do not know how to continue to live their lives", Nhung added.
In Yen Thanh, Nghe An province, dozens of worried relatives of 19-year-old Bui Thi Nhung gathered in the family's small courtyard home where her mother has been unable to rise from her bed.
In comments under a photo uploaded to Nhung's Facebook account on Monday (October 21), two days before the doomed truck was discovered, one friend asked how her journey was going.
"Not good," Nhung replied. "Almost spring," she said, using a term in Vietnamese meaning she had almost reached her destination.
(Production: RVN, Aiden Nulty)
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