- Profile of Services Available
- Addis Ababa Based Funeral Homes
Funerals are generally held within 24 hours of death and the body is usually buried in a local cemetery immediately afterward. Ethiopians do not cremate remains, and there is only one crematorium in Addis Ababa, which is managed by the Hindu community.
A formal memorial service is not customary in Ethiopia. More likely, close relatives and friends gather and remember the deceased for a number of days after the funeral.
The information is updated tri-annually. The next update is scheduled for April 2020.
(1) Maximum Period before Burial
Local law prescribes that human remains are buried within 24 hours after death regardless of whether or not the body has been embalmed. In practice, local authorities will usually allow bodies embalmed within 24 hours of death to be held in cold storage for two to three days, especially if they know that surviving family will be taking custody of the body. There have also been occasions when embalming services have not been available within the 24-hour period. In previous cases, remains that have been kept in cold storage for several days pending availability of services have later been shipped out without difficulty.
Remains that will be exported from Ethiopia into the United States must be embalmed.
Embalming will be arranged by the funeral home in Ethiopia. Next-of-kin are encouraged to consult their receiving funeral home to resolve any doubts about embalming, particularly if relatives wish to view the remains.
The body must be embalmed at the Menelik II Hospital, which issues a mortuary certificate.
Cold storage is available in Addis at the following hospitals if necessary while flight arrangements are made:
- At the Korean Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is 600 ETB if the patient was admitted as a patient prior to death, if not, the charge per night for cold storage is 1000ETB per night and requires a death certificate with a cause of death.
- At Hayat Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is 1000 ETB.
- At Bethel Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is 700 ETB.
- At BeteZata Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is 700 ETB.
- At St. Gabriel Hospital, the charge per night for cold storage is 900ETB.
Although uncommon, cremation is allowed in Ethiopia. If the next-of-kin opts to have the body cremated please contact Mr. Sunish Shah (President) or Mr. Harsh-Kothari (Secretary) of the Hindu Community. Mr. Shah can be reached at +251 911514087 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Mr. Harsh-Kothari ca be reached + 251 91152 9656.
The Hindu Community requires the following documents for cremation:
- Death Certificate
- Copy of passport biographical information page
- Letter from the deceased person’s next of kin stating that they want the person to be cremated
- Letter from the deceased person’s Embassy requesting cremation service, and
- USD 1,750 to pay for the service.
Since the Hindu Community only cremates on Saturdays, they require the documents to be submitted to them by the Tuesday before the requested date. Ashes are available to returned the day following cremation.
(4) Caskets and Containers
Some of the funeral service providers in Addis Ababa have caskets that meet international standards for shipment out of the country. The funeral service provider can collect the body from morgue, transport it to the airport, comply with the airline regulations, and submit the casket to the airline ready to be transported.
(5) Exportation of Human Remains
It is possible to export remains out of the country. However, the body must be embalmed and the following documents are required: a mortuary certificate issued by the hospital, Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad, a local death certificate, the address where the body should be shipped, and a color copy of the deceased’s passport. The casket should be zinc-lined as per the airline standard.
The remains of persons who have died of the following causes may not be embalmed or exported (unless immediately cremated and the ashes exported) and must be buried in a cemetery nearest the place of death: anthrax, malignant pustule; plague; Asiatic cholera; exanthematic typhus; and smallpox.
(6) Exportation of Human Cremains/Ashes
It is possible to export human cremains out of the country. However, the Hindu Community, which provides cremation, does not facilitate exportation of the ashes. The total amount of the ashes remaining following cremation varies from 100 kg to 200 kg. The next of kin will decide how much of the ashes will be transported. If there are any remaining ashes, the Hindu Community can arrange for disposal.
To ship human ashes, the airlines require the following documents from the Embassy:
- Death Certificates (hospital, local and Consular Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad)
- Mortuary certificate
- Certificate from the Crematorium
- Letter from the Crematorium confirming the contents of the urn are the ash from the cremated body.
Charges are based on the exchange rate of May 15, 2013: $1.00 = 18.52 ETB and are estimated and subject to change. The average weight of casket and containers required for export of remains is 250 kg (550 lbs). The following rates pertain to air shipment from Addis Ababa to various points in the continental United States. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars.
Lufthansa Cargo Service rates per kilo for human remains (Coffin/Ashes):
ADDIS ABABA to:
New York $10.15 $18.50
Washington, DC $10.55 $19.25
Chicago $11.10 $20.40
Dallas $11.40 $21.05
Los Angeles $12.10 $22.40
Houston $11.40 $21.05
Seattle $12.20 $22.55
Minneapolis $11.30 $20.80
To transport human ashes up to 12 kg to the above U.S. destinations costs approximately $240.00, and the cost for a coffin or container weighing less than 7kg, the minimum charge is $90.00.
Please note that USD 4.00 per Air Waybill is to be added on all charges.
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Service rates per kilo for human remains (Coffin/container and ashes)
– Fuel and insurance surcharge is $0.65 per kg.
– Air Way Bill charge is $4.00 per Air Way Bill.
– Security Screening charge is $0.070 per kg
The procedure for exhumation and shipment starts with the Kebele (local authority) and police station where the remains were interred. Once the Embassy receives authorization from both the Kebele and local police station, the remains may be taken to Menelik II Hospital in Addis Ababa for embalming.
Exhumation can be done no earlier than two (2) years from the death of a person dying of a non-contagious disease and not earlier than three (3) years if the cause of death was one of the contagious diseases: anthrax, malignant pustule, plague, Asiatic cholera, exanthematic typhus, and smallpox.
Cost of shipment of exhumed remains cannot be estimated, as this service has not hitherto been provided. Presumably, costs would approximate those cited above for preparation and shipment of remains, in addition to costs associated with exhumation.
An autopsy is mandatory in Ethiopia when the police suspect that the death was unnatural. Autopsies can be requested by the family of the deceased in other cases.