Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and British police on Friday released the names, ages and hometowns of all 39 Vietnamese found dead in a refrigerated truck in the U.K. last month.
Two of them were 15, one 17, four 18 and three 19. The oldest victim was 44.
Nghe An Province in central Vietnam was home to the majority of the victims, 21, followed by its neighbor Ha Tinh Province which was home to 10 of the victims.
The northern port city of Hai Phong and the central province of Quang Binh were home to three victims each, while the remaining two victims came from the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and the northern province of Hai Duong.
31 of the victims were male and eight were female. For the full list of the 39 victims, click here.
“Our priority has been to identify the victims, to preserve the dignity of those who have died and to support the victims’ friends and families. It remained of paramount importance to us to ensure that an individual’s next of kin were informed, and that they were given some time to absorb this tragic news before we publicly confirmed their loved one’s identity,” police in Essex, where the truck was found, said in a statement.
Following confirmation that the truck victims were Vietnamese, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a letter of condolence to the families of the victims on Thursday.
“This is not only a painful incident for the families of the deceased, but also for the whole community, for each Vietnamese and every citizen of the world,” he wrote.
In his address to the National Assembly on Friday, Phuc said the tragedy must not be repeated and that the country needs to act so that the people could prosper in their own homeland.
Leaders of Nghe An’s Dien Chau, Yen Thanh, Nghi Loc, Hung Nguyen Districts, Cua Lo Town and Vinh Town personally visited the families of the province’s 21 victims on Friday to offer their condolences and encourage them.
Ha Tinh’s provincial Party Committee Secretary Le Dinh Son has also sent a letter of condolence to the families of the province’s victims. According to Son, the province is actively working to assist in returning the victims’ bodies home.
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.
Officials from Vietnam’s Ministries of Public Security and Foreign Affairs left for the U.K. last weekend to facilitate the identification of the victims, after Essex police said they believed the victims were Vietnamese.
They said the return of the bodies will depend on the U.K.’s process on handling the case. British police have charged two men with manslaughter as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses, and a trial is expected soon.
Vietnam police have arrested 11 people suspected to be involved in the smuggling of the victims. They are from Nghe An and Ha Tinh.