The Chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau was quoted saying that the Government hopes to evacuate 2600 Sri Lankan workers registered with the Sri Lanka embassy in Beirut. Only one casualty has been reported up to now out of the 80,000 workers involved.
three airlines -Sri Lankan, Qatar Airways and Aeroflot are airlifting workers free of charge. Workers have to rough out due to the large numbers involved but the Sri Lanka embassy, Caritas, IOM and other humanitarian organizations are assisting those who have been affected. The SLBFE has provided IDD facilities to the workers to enable them to contact their families back home
There are a number of workers who have overstayed their visas due to the lucrative nature of employment. On the other hand the Lebanon employees have to spend around US$ 1500-2000 to get each worker and they are reluctant to let them go.
SRI LANKA EMBASSY IN A MASSIVE OPERATION TO MOVE
80,000 MIGRANT WORKERS OUT OF ISRAELI BOMBING ZONES
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
The Sri Lanka Embassy in
The Sri Lanka Embassy was engaged in a massive operation in moving the Sri Lankan migrant workers out of the endangered areas now being bombed for the sixth day by Israeli jets the sources said.
The operation involved workers who were rushing to the embassy asking for protection and also workers who in detention centers of the government for visa violations who were being freely released without any conditions so they could escape to safer places not harmed by Israeli jets.
The Sri lankan foreign Ministry said that there had been no report of any Sri Lankan injured or killed by the Israeli bombing so far.
The Ministry has been keeping a round the clock watch in consultation with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment on .
The embassy was hiring buses to transport those who needed help. The embassy was trying to evacuate about 1500 endangered Sri Lankans from an area called Hyda which was directly on the onslaught of the bombing. There were many problems the embassy was facing to move these people out. Not many drivers were willing to take their vehicles on hire to this area. The other problem was roads and bridges have been destroyed by the Israeli bombing in the area.
A Sinhalese nun called Sister Leela who has been caring for Sri Lankan evacuees interviewed by the BBC’s Sandeshaya said yesterday the Sri Lankan Embassy informed her that another bus load of 100 will be arriving at her center for safety.
A foreign Ministry statement further said,” The Government is in touch with authorities regarding further action on contingency planning and for safety of Sri Lankans,” but did not describe what they are.
The statement added, if the need arises, assistance will be obtained from International Organisation for Migrants and other governments with whom the Sri Lankan Government is in touch through diplomatic channels for those who wish to return.
The statement also said, “The information and help desk will continue to function at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SLBFE and Sri Lanka Embassy in