Netherlands holds a solemn ceremony for MH17 victims
The Netherlands has received the first victims’ bodies from crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in a solemn ceremony at Eindhoven air base.
The Netherlands is observing a national day of mourning for the 298 victims, most of whom were Dutch.Two military planes – one Dutch and the other Australian – carrying the first 40 coffins landed at Eindhoven air base on Wednesday afternoon. They were met by members of the Dutch royal family, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and hundreds of victims’ relatives.
Churches around the Netherlands rang their bells for five minutes before the planes landed, and flags of all the nations affected by the disaster have been flying at half mast. There was also a minute’s silence.
All the bodies are being taken to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks south of the city of Hilversum for identification, a process that could take months.
Two more planes carrying victims are due to arrive in Eindhoven on Thursday.
Earlier, the coffins had been loaded on to the planes by a military guard of honour at Kharkiv airport in eastern Ukraine.
There has been mounting international anger at the delays in recovering the bodies.
However, separatist leader Alexander Borodai told BBC Newsnight that international observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) had told them to leave the bodies to be collected by experts.
“So we wait a day. We wait a second day. A third day. Come on! Not a single expert. Well, to leave the bodies there any longer, in 30 degree heat, it’s absurd. It’s simply inhuman. It’s a scene from a horror movie,” he said.
OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw denied they told rebels not to move the bodies. He told the BBC: “It is not consistent with our mandate to tell people what to do. We’re here to monitor, observe and report.”
Victim: a person who has been killed as a result of an accident
Hearse /hɜːrs/: a long vehicle to carry coffins to a funeral
Identification process: the process of proving or recognising who someone is
Observe something (rule/ law) : to follow/ obey a rule/ law
Flag at half mast (flas as in the above getty image)
A minute’s silence: be or keep silent for a minute
Disaster = catastrophe: an unexpected event that kills a lot of people and causes lots of damage
Barracks /ˈbærəks/: a large building where the soldiers live in
Separatist: a member of a group of people winthin a country who want to separate from the rest and form their own government
Rebel: a person who fights against the government of their own country
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Emotional MH17 Crash Speech By Netherlands Delegate to UN