Bangladesh Received 4,000 Bodies of Migrants in 2019
Photo: Migration News

Bangladesh has received over 4,000 bodies of the deceased migrant workers who died abroad in 2019 with the highest number of the bodies in official record.

The Bangladeshi workers died abroad mostly due to stroke or heart attack, expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry officials said.

The migrant rights campaigners expressed deep concern over the death of so many young workers abroad.

The burden of debt caused by the high cost of migration, they said, played a big role in causing deaths to a growing number of migrant workers at the prime of their lives.

Wage Earners Welfare Board repatriated the bodies of the workers mostly from the Middle Eastern countries, WEWB deputy director Zahid Anwar said.

He said that they would soon make country wise dead bodies public.

Replying to a question about number, he said that there were some bodies of Bangladeshi tourists brought back home. If those number are deducted the figure will be smaller a little bit,’ he said.

At least 3,975 dead bodies were received at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka from January to December 2019. Of them 140 bodies were of women migrant workers, said officials and activists.

The number of bodies would increase after taking statistics of dead bodies received at Hazrat Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong in December into account.

A total of 3,893 bodies of Bangladeshi migrants were brought back home in 2018, the WEWB data show.

3,353 bodies were brought back in 2017 gradually up from 1,248 bodies received in 2005, when the official data started to record.

The workers were in the 25-35 age group when they died unable to cope with physical and mental stresses caused by their inability to repay their loans, back home, with low wages, they observed.

Unfriendly workplace atmosphere also played a role in their early deaths, they said.

Migrant rights activist Al Amin Noyon who worked as information officer of BRAC said that most of the family members of the migrant workers who received dead bodies at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport expressed their frustration over high cost of migration.

About death of female migrant workers, he said that the government should find out the causes to why ‘our female workers committed suicide in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the gulf.’

Senior migration expert and Bangladesh Ovibashi Adhikar Forum secretary general Faruque Ahmed told Migration News that Bangladeshi workers faced problems every point of migration from home country to destination falling them in stress.

The number of death would not be reduced unless or until the migration was not made safe, he said.

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