Fund to aid migrants in need collects MVR 1.3 million in donations

A migrant worker plays with his phone as he sits outside a labor quarter in Male' City on May 26 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldivian Red Crescent, on Tuesday, announced that the fund it set up to assist Maldives’ migrant workers amid the coronavirus outbreak has collected MVR 1.3 million in donations.

The fund has been opened for donations for the one-month period from May 1 to 31.

 And by the end of the period, the four accounts set up at the Bank of Maldives (BML) and Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) for donations collected a total of MVR 1,374,745.79 million.

MRC had opened the relief fund with the purpose of expanding its ongoing humanitarian to aid migrant workers whose livelihoods have been affected in the pandemic, and to aid migrant workers in need.

MRC’s Secretary-General Fathmath Himya has announced that 85 percent of the donations will be used to arrange food for migrant workers in need.

“This will primarily compose of providing food parcels – what we refer to in English as hot meals. Our migrant support center is already engaged in providing regular meals to some 3,600 migrant workers. We expect this number to increase within the coming month,” said Himya.

According to MRC, the humanitarian group, with the support of donors, has provided more than 100,000 meal packs to 3,600 migrant workers.

It has also provided 550 hygiene kits, which includes basic hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste and towels.

While 86 percent of the donations will be used to provide hot meals, 10 percent will be used of promotion of hygiene and the remaining five percent will be used on administrative expenditures.

Maldives has a population of close to 150,000 migrant workers, some 63,000 of whom are undocumented.

Most of the migrant workers in Maldives are Bangladeshis, and live in congested labor quarters which make them particular vulnerable to infectious diseases such as the new coronavirus.

The vulnerability of migrant workers is evident from records of coronavirus cases released by the health authorities. Maldives has recorded 1,829 coronavirus cases, 32 percent of whom are Maldivians, while the remaining 68 percent are foreign nationals. 1,003 people – making for 54 percent of total coronavirus cases – are Bangladeshis.

And while Maldives has confirmed seven coronavirus related deaths, three of the seven who died are Bangladeshis.