Death in Bali: How to handle it
Dealing with a death in Bali is everybody’s worst nightmare. The British Consulate gave me some info on how to deal with a death.
The death of a relative or friend is always distressing. But if it happens abroad the distress can be made worse by practical problems. After the death of a loved one abroad, you are likely to have countless questions. How can I communicate with people in a foreign language? Who can I turn to for advice?
My brother met a group of young Germans some years ago in Thailand, who were partying on Koh Samui. One of their buddies overdosed smoking heroin and they had to wrap him in plastic, haul him down to the ferry and ship him back to the mainland. The local cops not interested in helping them out.
If a relative or friend dies while you are abroad with them there are certain things you should know. All deaths must be registered in the country where the death occurs. Your tour guide, the local police or the foriegn Consul can advise you how to go about this. If you are anxious about coping in a foreign language your Consul will help.
Make sure you have as much documentation as possible about the deceased and yourself. This should include:
Full name, date of birth, passport number, when and where the passport was issued. If you are not the closest relative yourself, nxt of kin of the deceased person.
If the deceased was known to be suffering from an infectious illness, it is important to inform the authorities, to aovid further infections.
There is no obligation to register a death at your Consulate. However, British people registering a death with the British Consulate allows them to issue a UK death certificate. Not all countries allow foreign consulates to issue death certificates.
If a close relative or friend dies abroad while you are in your home country
For British people, if the death has been reported to a British Consulate overseas, they will pass the details on to UK police who will immediately visit next of kin.
Consular staff will make every effort to ensure relatives do not hear of the death first from the media;
Consular staff will help you stay in touch with the fmaily and the Consulate abroad until the burial or cremation overseas, or until the deaseaced has been brought back;
Consular staff will pass on to the Consulate overseas, the wishes of the next of kin about the disposal of the body;
In many capital cities of the world you will find foreign consulates. There are many Consualtes and Honorary Consulates in other cities too, though Honorary Consulate functions and office hours are limited.
How can a Consul help you?
They can keep the next of kin informed. Their job is to ensure you do not feel that you are on your own;
They can advise you on the cost of the burial, local cremation and transportation of the remains and personal property back to your country;
They can provide a list of local funeral directors. If an English speaking firm is not available, Consulate staff will help with the arrangements;
They can help transfer money from friends and relatives in the UK to pay any necessary costs;
Where there is evidence of suspicious circumstances, they can press for an investigation by local authorities and pass on the results;
A Consul cannot:
Investigate death themselves;
Pay burial or cremation costs;
Pay for the return of the body to the home country;
Pay any debts that may be outstanding;
This info is all based on the British Consulate (Foreign & Commonwealth Office), though most of it is probably in line with the Consulates of other countries.