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Netherlands in mourning after MH17 crash

Communities in the Netherlands have been bonding together in support of the many who have lost families and friends.

AMSTERDAM: Churches across the Netherlands have been marking the MH17 tragedy. Many are calling for prayers for those who lost their lives and whose bodies remain strewn across the crash site in eastern Ukraine. Many are also opening up their doors and providing a space for the relatives and friends of those who died.

The well-being of those in mourning have been the focus of efforts in Amsterdam. Corinne De Klerk, chairperson of the Catholic and Anglican airport chaplaincy at Schiphol Airport, said her team have been consoling the relatives of the victims.

She added: "Everybody, of course, copes in their own way. But the variety of people who have been struck by this disaster -- it's not only the people who have lost friends or relatives on the flight themselves, but even airport personnel.

"The people working at the Malaysia Airlines checking counter, the next day they were back checking in the next flight leaving at this same time. It all comes so close and it's hard to conceive."

It is clear that the people of the Netherlands simply want the bodies of the victims returned so that proper burials and funerals can be held. Pressure for that to happen is mounting from world leaders.

The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said: "In this context, Frans Timmermans (Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs) is travelling to New York for consultation with the United Nations and members of the Security Council to extend help to the international coalition, whose aim is to secure a quick repatriation and to make sure that all the facts are uncovered about the horrible events of MH17."

With many questions still unanswered, it is clear the Netherlands will be in mourning for some time.

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