By Sandun A Jayasekera
The Foreign Ministry has dispatched 10,000 kg (2,000 packs) of essential items including dry rations, to be distributed through the Sri Lanka High Commission in the Maldives, among the Sri Lankan community members in Male and outer Male.
This is an effort to mitigate the difficulties faced by the most vulnerable, particularly in Greater Male where a red alert has been declared by the Maldivian Government with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and access to food items and medicines is limited, a spokesman of the Ministry said.
The national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines has collaborated with the Foreign Ministry in this cause, by carrying these support kits on a cost free basis on Sunday, 7 June 2020, by a Sri Lankan Airlines cargo flight to the Maldives. These individual support kits comprise 18 items, which include basic commodities such as instant food packs and sanitary items and also much needed medicines that are commonly used by the community.
Approximately 7000 Sri Lankans are currently seeking repatriation from the Maldives, and of this, almost 2000 are in Greater Male. The Foreign Ministry has already consulted the Maldivian authorities, who have expressed willingness for PCR tests to be facilitated to Sri Lankans being repatriated on payment, prior to departure.
In most capitals, the Sri Lanka Missions overseas are utilizing funds provided through a special allocation from the Sri Lanka Government in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Community Associations and local organisations, continue to support migrant communities abroad through the provision of dry rations and medicines. Where possible, they also assist in medical emergencies in their respective locations, while continuing to assist and facilitate in the repatriation process of those seeking to return, he added.