Tradition in Vietnam dictates that the dead should be buried within three days, but Nguyen Dinh Gia is still waiting for his son’s body to come home.
“We are tired. We want our child back as soon as possible,” said Gia whose son, Luong, was one of 39 Vietnamese who died in the back of a truck in Britain around three weeks ago.
British police have charged two people with manslaughter over the incident. The youngest of the victims, most of whom had left poorer rural villages in search of work, was 15.
In Vietnam, the families of the victims have been plagued by confusion and anguish over how to get the bodies home.
Rumors about high costs circulating on social media, conflicting information from local authorities and a partial blackout of news in Vietnam’s tightly controlled media have all contributed to the uncertainty.
Six families told Reuters they had been expecting to receive the bodies of the dead, but were later asked by Vietnamese police to agree that their children’s remains be cremated instead.
Last week, Gia signed a form granting permission for Luong’s body to be repatriated. The next day, police encouraged him to opt for his son’s ashes instead.
“I was told the original form, including the option to repatriate Luong’s body, was no longer valid,” said Gia.