Lebanon crisis hits Lanka by $ 9m in remittances per month
As a result of the Lebanon crisis Sri Lanka will lose nearly US$ 9
million in foreign remittances per month, according to the Foreign
Employment Bureau (FEB). This is nearly 10% of the total remittance from
Middle East countries. Sources said that there are nearly 90,000 Sri
Lankan employees in Lebanon and most of them are housemaids.
The average monthly salary of a Sri Lankan worker in Lebanon is
around US$ 150 and they send around 70% of their savings to the country.
However, the figures are vague because there are no accurate records
of Sri Lankan returnees. Departure details are available with the FEB
but arrival figures are rough estimates, an FEB official said. It is
difficult to forecast how many Sri Lankans in Lebanon would return to
the country due to the crisis because Israel attacks are intensifying
day by day and there is no sign of the conflict ending.
By Friday 2,300 Sri Lankan workers had returned and there were around
3,000 awaiting at the Sri Lankan embassy in Lebanon to return. A team of
officials led by FEB chairman Jagath Wellawatte is now on a rescue
mission in Syria. They have chartered a Qatar Airways flight to bring
them to the country. It was scheduled to bring around 250 persons daily
during the week starting from Thursday, August 3.
According to sources less than 1% of Sri Lankans have rushed to
return. Officials have no idea about the condition of all Sri Lankans in
They are spread across the country and officials at the Sri Lankan
embassy in Beirut find it difficult to reach them.
Roads have been destroyed and communication networks are not
functioning. There is a fuel shortage in the country and this would
create further obstacles in the rescue mission, officials said. If Sri
Lankan employees are willing to stay in Lebanon it would not be easy.
After the Israel attack ceases there will be more vacancies for
construction workers but not for domestic workers. There is no way to
send them from Lebanon to other Middle East countries.
The FEB said that the impact of the crisis would end within two to
three years because the demand for domestic workers from other Middle
East countries is still high. Returnees from Lebanon can easily find
similar jobs because they have experience and the knowledge of the
culture in the Middle East.
The Government has not yet decided to provide any assistance for the
We are working on the rescue mission at present and compensation and
other assistance will be worked out later, an official said.