Over 2,500 Bangladeshi migrant workers have so far been sent back home from the Maldives amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the government of the host country.
Of them, a group of 200 Bangladeshi migrant workers were repatriated from the Island nation on Saturday through the Maldives national airline.
The repatriation of the Bangladeshi workers has been carried out through the collaborative efforts of the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Development.
The Maldivian government continued its efforts to send the thousands of undocumented Bangladeshi nationals, back home, after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made the official announcement during a national address in May.
‘This comes at a time thousands of Bangladeshi nationals have been testing positive to the global Covid-19 pandemic in the Maldives, which has infected 1,189 Bangladeshis, which is 52.08 percent of the total case count; 2,283,’ according to report of Male based online news portal RAAJJE.
This has churned public concern regarding the manner in which Bangladeshi workers are being treated in the Maldives. As such, they are deemed at a high risk of the pandemic due to their challenging lifestyles and congested living quarters they are forced to reside in, in large groups.
Earlier, the Maldivian president stressed that those who brought Bangladeshi nationals to that country had a responsibility to ensure their safety.
Bangladesh Sent Food, Medicines to Maldives
In mid April, Bangladesh sent its Navy ship loaded with over 100 tonnes of food, medicines and medical assistance from the government of Bangladesh for the government of the Republic of Maldives, according to foreign ministry of Bangladesh.
More than 60,000 undocumented Bangladeshi nationals were languishing in severe food shortage in the Maldives due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
As per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the Bangladesh High Commission in Male coordinated the shipment of food, medical equipment and assistance for the Maldives, said foreign ministry.
The MoFA remains in touch with the Maldivian foreign ministry and reiterated Bangladesh’s solidarity with the Maldives in facing the threat of COVID-19 together.
The Bangladeshi workers became undocumented in the Maldives for years, a team of the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry and the Bangladesh Overseas Employment Service Limited said on return from Male early last year.
About 1.50 lakh Bangladeshis work in the Maldives including the undocumented ones, the BOESL officials said.