Sri Lanka will resume repatriations from July 31 as there are 6,000 to 8,000 Sri Lankan nationals who urgently need to be brought back into the country due to job losses and loss of their places of accommodation in their countries of stay, Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations, Admiral Jayanath Colombage told Daily Mirror yesterday.
On July 31 and August 1, two flights from the UAE will arrive carrying workers stranded there while a further 50,000 more people stranded in several countries will be brought back once repatriations resume at the end of the month.
"There are altogether like 50,000 people wanting to come back. Immediately there are around 6,000 to 8,000 we have to bring back who are the most vulnerable category. These are people who lost their jobs, lost their places to stay," Colombage said.
However, with the passage of time, Colombage said those wanting to return back home may increase and the government would facilitate the return of all these Sri Lankan citizens back into the country.
Repatriations had initially been pushed to early September after it was suspended on July 14 in the wake of the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre transforming into a cluster and thousands having been taken into the quarantine centres.
However, with the cluster now completely under control and no threat reported in society, a decision was taken to resume repatriations. However, the BIA is expected to be closed till September as initially planned following the Kandakadu cluster detection. (JAMILA HUSAIN)