By Vyshnavy Velrajh
Over 220 Sri Lankan migrant workers who are stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to the coronavirus pandemic will be repatriated tonight.
Foreign Ministry on COVID-19 Action and Director General East Asia Kandeepan Balasubramaniam told Colombo Gazette that arrangements have been completed for 228 stranded Sri Lankan migrant workers to leave from Dubai.
The passengers have been selected from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with 45 Sri Lankan migrant workers, who are reported to have fled from their employers, from safe houses maintained by the Mission in Abu Dhabi.
Balasubramaniam said that Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colambage had raised the matter pertaining to the plight of stranded Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle East during the recent National Security Council meeting.
At the meeting, Admiral Colambage had highlighted that most Sri Lankan migrant workers had lost their jobs and were rendered homeless due to the coronavirus pandemic, and are now reported to be sleeping in parks or on roads.
Treating this as a special situation and keeping in mind the hardships faced by the stranded Sri Lankan migrant workers, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had granted approval to repatriate them.
Kandeepan Balasubramaniam said that the President had approved the repatriation, despite normal repatriation flights being temporarily suspended and an increase in coronavirus cases in the country at present.
The Government said last week that it was hoping to repatriate nearly 150 Sri Lankans stranded in the UAE by this week. (Colombo Gazette)