The Importance of Repatriation Following a Crisis

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Importance of Repatriation Following a Crisis 

In the face of any crisis, the well-being of the deceased's family members is always a priority. Without a proper farewell and funeral, it becomes difficult for them to find closure, which can have a long-lasting impact on their mental health. 

Following a crisis like a plane crash, family members often struggle to navigate the initial stages of grief, particularly denial. At Kenyon, we understand the significance of placing the family of the deceased at the center of our efforts.

Repatriation plays a vital role in providing closure to the grieving family and friends, helping to alleviate emotional and psychological effects. It also allows for religious and cultural practices to be carried out as soon as practically possible.

By facilitating repatriation, Kenyon aims to support the bereaved in their journey towards healing and honoring their loved ones. Our Repatriation Manager, Clive Pearson, explores the importance of repatriation following a crisis, and the challenges that must be navigated.

Navigating the cultural and language differences 

Navigating the cultural and language differences involved in meeting the legal requirements for repatriation can pose both challenges and opportunities. Fortunately, the majority of individuals I work with globally are proficient in English, and if they are not, there is usually someone local who can help out. In cases where local assistance is unavailable, our team at Kenyon is equipped with a diverse range of language skills to provide the necessary support.

Prior to travelling to unfamiliar countries, I find it invaluable to conduct thorough research on local customs and traditions. These cultural traditions often give rise to concerns from clients or relatives that require careful handling and management.

Flexibility is key in adapting one's approach to work. In certain countries, bureaucratic processes may take longer than what we are accustomed to in the UK. Religious practices might result in shorter working weeks or limited availability of qualified personnel responsible for issuing required paperwork. These factors can potentially delay the preparation of repatriation arrangements. Navigating around religious festivals and times of national mourning requires careful consideration, as this can potentially delay the repatriation from taking place or alter the route the repatriation was going to take. Additionally, some counties, for reasons unknown to us, may not let the deceased or their family travel thorough which again results in having to change the proposed route.

Successfully meeting the legal requirements for repatriation necessitates understanding and respecting cultural and language differences, while being adaptable and responsive to the unique challenges that may arise in each situation.

Staying up to date on regulations and procedures related to repatriation

In the UK, I am fortunate to have teaching qualifications for both the British Institute of Embalmers (BIE) to teach the embalming, and the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD), allowing me to teach the Diploma in Funeral Service accredited by Greenwich University. Repatriation is a significant component of the Funeral Directors course, making it crucial for me to stay abreast of regulations not only in the UK but also in other countries worldwide.

There are many ways of keeping up to date, one being guidelines provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the proper handling, documentation, and transportation of the deceased during repatriation by air through the Compassionate Transportation Manual (CTM). The latest edition of the CTM was recently released serving as a reliable and up-to-date source of information in this field.

In addition, official government websites are valuable resources for checking any regulatory changes that may occur. However, it is important to remember the power of networking within the industry. Over the years, I have established connections with professionals worldwide, providing me with a network of support and knowledge just a message or phone call away.

It is worth noting that the repatriation profession acknowledges the environmental impact of long-distance travel by air or boat. Therefore, we actively seek ways to minimise our carbon footprint, such as utilising renewable resources and developing lighter coffins/caskets for transportation purposes as well as using hermetically sealed foil bags where possible to replace the heavier zinc lining.

Within our profession, I have always advocated for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) as a means of learning, staying updated on industry trends, regulations, and best practices, as well as reinforcing existing knowledge. This commitment to ongoing education not only benefits us but also provides reassurance and confidence to our clients and their families, knowing they are working with professionals who actively stay informed in all aspects of our work.

Repatriation forms part of our Disaster Recovery Services, to find out more about how we can assist please contact us at