Communities in several townships in rural Vietnam, who believe that many of the 39 people found dead in the back of a truck near London this week are their townsfolk, went into mourning on Saturday, October 26.
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 south of Hanoi, said he believed most of the dead were likely from Vietnam.
“The whole district is covered in sorrow. This is a catastrophe for our community,” Nam said, as prayers for the dead rang out over loudspeakers throughout the misty, rain-soaked town. Around 500 worshippers in prayers for the dead as they held lit candles in the modest, white-walled church in Yen Thanh on Saturday.
“We are here to pray for justice and peace, and for the victims of society. We pray for the 39 people who lost their lives on their way to the UK. They are people coming from central Vietnam, our land,” he said.
Nam told Reuters he was liaising with family members, saying they told him they knew relatives were travelling to Britain at the time the container truck was travelling, and had been unable to contact their loved ones.
British Police initially believed the dead were Chinese but on Saturday a senior British police officer in charge of identification have asked for help from Britain’s Vietnamese community.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered government officials to help establish the identities of the victims and look into cases of Vietnamese citizens sent abroad illegally. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)