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COVID-19 Migrant Relief Fund raises over MVR 1.3 million: MRC

Shahudha Mohamed
02 June 2020, MVT 21:06
Undocumented migrant workers at the Galolhu Stadium. Expatriates are the most disproportionately affected group in Maldives due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
02 June 2020, MVT 21:06

Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) revealed on Monday that over MVR 1.3 million was raised for the special relief fund established to aid migrant workers affected by the lockdown imposed on Greater Male' area to contain the spread of COVID-19.

According to MRC, the fund launched on May 1 received MVR 1,374,745 during the one month period of collecting donations. MRC had formerly revealed that the fund had raised MVR 190,000 within three days of launching.

Tweet by Maldivian Red Crescent disclosing the amount generated by the Migrant Relief Fund. PHOTO: TWITTER

MRC's Secretary General Fathimath Himya stated that 85 percent of the donations will be used to secure food for expats, while 10 percent will be utilised to provide sanitary and cleaning products. She added that the remaining five percent will be spent on administrative work done by MRC.

"Right now, the biggest concern is providing food. Therefore, we have allocated more than a third of the funds for this purpose".

MRC stated that the organisation's Migrant Support Centre, operating in capital Male' has already provided over 100,000 meal packs to more than 3,600 migrant workers.

The COVID-19 outbreak in the Maldives’ capital has disproportionately affected its migrant worker population, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi nationals, as the lockdown imposed on April 15 cut off income for many expatriates, leaving them penniless and starving.

Most of the immigrant workers are living in highly congested quarters where it is impossible to reduce contact or exercise social distancing, increasing the risk of being exposed to the virus as well. Their often small-spaced living conditions have been described by local and international civil society organizations as, "claustrophobic", "unsanitary" and "overcrowded".

Maldives recorded its first case involving a migrant worker, who was from Bangladesh, on April 19. Since, the total number of Bangladeshi workers that have tested positive for COVID-19 have surpassed 1000.

Repatriation efforts are being carried out by India and Bangladesh to evacuate their citizens from Maldives.

Presently, the country records 1,829 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,334 active cases, 488 recoveries and seven fatalities. Capital Malé, one of the most densely populated places in the world, has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases since recording its first local transmission on April 15.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 6.3 million people and claimed over 37,112 lives around the world. However, 2.9 million people have recovered from the infection.

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