More than 3,570 Indians died of COVID-19 abroad, the Indian Minister for External Affairs V Muraleedharan revealed.
“3570 Indian citizens died abroad, due to Covid-19 as per information provided by our missions/posts abroad,” he said.
The minister provided a list of 70 countries that reported the deaths of Indians.
“We express the deepest sympathy with the families of those who have died abroad due to Covid-19. Missions/Posts abroad maintained contact with the families and extended all possible help for transporting the mortal remains to India or for local burial, as per the wishes of the families,” the minister added.
“Financial assistance for transporting the mortal remains to India or for local burial was also provided from Indian Community Welfare Fund, where such requests were received,” he said.
Most Deaths in Saudi Arabia
The Indian official pointed out 1,154 of the deaths reported from Saudi Arabia followed by 894 in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the sources, 546 Indians lost their lives due to COVID-19 in Kuwait, 384 died in Oman, 196 in Bahrain and 106 deaths were reported from Qatar.
Rights groups have long raised concerns over the safety of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia.
These concerns have been increased since the pandemic outbreak.
Amnesty International has earlier reported that migrant workers were even more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation because of the pandemic, and thousands were arbitrarily detained in dire conditions, leading to an unknown number of deaths.
The rights group said that thousands of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia continued to be governed by the kafala (sponsorship) system, which gives employers disproportionate powers over them and prevents them from leaving the country or changing jobs without the permission of their employers, increasing their vulnerability to labour abuses and exploitation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this situation – alongside dire living conditions, scarce legal protection and limited access to preventive health care and treatment – put migrant workers in an even more vulnerable position and at higher risk from COVID-19.