In a statement today (03) Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister said currently an estimated 68,000 overseas Sri Lankans from various regions have been wait listed by the Ministry for repatriation.
According to the Ministry since the evacuation of 33 students from Wuhan City, in February 2019, the Ministry has assisted in the repatriation of 60,470 Sri Lankans, composed of pilgrims, students, Officials of Government or Armed Forces, migrant workers, short term visitors, seafarers and cases on compassionate grounds from 137 countries.
Despite the criticisms levelled against it for differential treatment to migrant workers, in the statement the Ministry insisted that over 40,000 migrant workers, predominantly from the Middle East region have been the top segment of overseas workers who have benefitted from the process.
The latest fortnightly schedule of flights finalized to be operated between 2-9 January 2021, will include 1400 passengers from Chennai, Melbourne, Kuwait, Doha, Canada, Cyprus and Dubai, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage said.
“Most importantly the Ministry and its 67 Missions continue discussions with friendly nations, UN Agencies and regional organizations and have secured as grants and donations large consignments of PCR test kits, RAT kits, test machines, lifesaving medicines, Ventilators, humidifiers and huge quantities of PPEs and face masks towards reinforcing the national Covid containment efforts which has spared the Government from incurring a huge sum of funds. The Missions are also closely following the developments with regard to manufacturing of vaccines and serving as a conduit of vital and timely information on the feasibility of sourcing the vaccine from foreign governments” the release added.