The bodies of 4,013 migrant workers reached home in Bangladesh 2019, the highest ever for a single year, according to official records. Most of the migrants died abroad young suffering stroke and heart attack, expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry officials said. The migrant rights campaigners expressed deep concern over so many young migrants dying abroad. It is said that the burden of debt caused by high cost of migration played a big role in causing the deaths to so many 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 told the media.
He said that the casualties could include a small number of tourists whose bodies were also flown home by the WEWB. At least 3,975 dead bodies were flown to the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, 140 of women migrants, most of whom allegedly committed suicide, said officials. They said that the number of migrants who died abroad in 2019 would increase after inclusion of the dead flown to the Hazrat Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram.
A total of 3,893 Bangladeshi migrants were brought back home in 2018, 3,353 in 2017, much higher than 1,248 who were first repatriated in 2005, according to the WEWB records. Unfriendly workplace atmosphere also played a role in their early deaths, said officials.
Migrant rights activist Al Amin Noyon who worked as information officer of BRAC said that the government should find out why the female migrants committed suicide in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.