Published:  12:00 AM, 01 February 2017

Bangladesh workers' deaths abroad up

Deaths of Bangladeshi expatriate workers are increasing extremely as more than 3,500 workers died of unnatural causes including workplace accidents around the world in last one year.

Migration experts observe that Bangladeshi migrant workers have been spending huge amount of money to get good jobs abroad. After going there they have been facing a lot of physical and mental sufferings due to low income and hostile workplaces in a foreign land. Lack of medical care and an imbalanced diet add to their sufferings.

They have also said a Bangladeshi migrant worker has to spend at least Tk 0.4 to 0.5 million to go abroad for a good job; but ultimately he gets poor wage there.

In a foreign country the Bangladeshi workers have to work for longer hours without taking care of  their health and thus they fall prey to critical health problems.

According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), in 2016 a total of 2,985 migrant workers' dead bodies arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), more than 421 bodies arrived at Shah Amanat International Airport (SAIA) and more than 75 arrived at Osmani International Airport.

Of them, 217 died of unnatural causes, 558 were killed in accidents at workplace. The others died in road accidents, house fires or were murdered. The BMET data also show that on an average more than 8 to 10 migrant workers' bodies have arrived daily at countries three international airports.

According to BMET statistics, more than nine million Bangladeshi migrant workers are employed across the world, mostly in the Gulf countries.The data also show that of the 3,375 Bangladeshi migrant workers, whose bodies were received in 2015, 495 died of various illnesses, 525 in workplace accidents, 190 in road accidents and the rest for other reasons.

Out of more than 3,335 workers in 2014, 480 died of various illnesses, 565 in workplace accidents, 175 in road accidents and the rests for other reasons. Tasneem Siddique, chairman of the Refugee and Migratory Movements and Research Unit at Dhaka University, said, "Every year huge migrant workers die from unnatural deaths which are a matter of great concern."

She said it was the government's responsibility to ensure healthy and safe working environments abroad for Bangladeshi migrant workers. She has said they have no specific information about the deaths of Bangladeshi migrant workers. The country needs to carry out post mortem examinations of its own.

The migration expert also has claimed that the government should raise the issue of migrant workers' deaths at global forums on migration. Prof Absur Uddin, a cardiologist at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) said the lack of proper medical checkups could be one of the reasons for the large number of deaths.

He has said a number of migrant workers may die of heart attacks at young age if he/she carries genetic disease or from a habit of eating excessive high-cholesterol food or suffering from hypertension.

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