Around 10,000 expats return

Higher Education, Technology and Innovations Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said yesterday that around 10,000 Sri Lankan expatriates have been brought to Sri Lanka by now. Speaking at a media conference held yesterday at the Government Information Department to brief on the Cabinet decisions, Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said that Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presented a comprehensive report on the measures taken by the Ministry and Sri Lankan missions abroad to address the issues related to vulnerable segments of Sri Lankans abroad amidst the COVID 19 global pandemic.

 Accordingly around 52,401 Sri Lankans in 117 countries have made requests to return to Sri Lanka by June 16, 2020. Together with the Presidential Secretariat and the Task Force on Covid-19, more than 9,580 Sri Lankans have been brought to Sri Lanka from 38 countries. Ten flights have been arranged from June 24 to July 7 to repatriate Sri Lankans from 10 other countries. Over 42.6 million rupees has been funded to Sri Lanka Missions for providing dry rations, basic medicines, safety equipment and safe transportation to vulnerable segments in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Steps have been taken to send 5,000 bags worth Rs.15.5 million containing dry rations and medicines to Maldives, UAE and Qatar where there is shortage of goods and difficulty in purchasing dry rations. Diplomatic representations are made by the Sri Lankan Missions to meet the needs of Sri Lankans overseas and maintain continuous contact with Sri Lankans. Steps have been taken to provide necessary services from the nearest Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions concerning the countries where Sri Lankan Missions are not functioning.

Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions have been working to identify new markets and increase the demand in existing markets in order to revive the economy of Sri Lanka by minimizing the impact of the global plague.

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