Lankans dying overseas down 0.7%
By Paneetha Ameresekere
Sri Lankan citizens who died overseas reduced by four (0.7 per cent) to 554, in 2019 (last year) over 2018, the Foreign Ministry’s 2019 Annual Report submitted to Parliament yesterday (22) showed. However, the number of Sri Lankans who died and whose next of kin (NOK) sought Ministry assistance to repatriate their bodies to Sri Lanka increased by 36 (8.11 per cent) to 480, year-on-year (YoY) to 2019. Meanwhile, deaths of Sri Lankans abroad, whose NOK sought no such State assistance, fell by 33 (30 per cent) to 77, 2019 over 2018.
The highest number of deceased persons, whose NOK sought State assistance to repatriate their bodies to Sri Lanka in 2019 came from Saudi Arabia, with a number of 111. This number of 111 is equivalent to 23.13 per cent of all deaths recorded in 2019, whose NOK sought State assistance to repatriate their bodies.
The number of Sri Lankans who died in Saudi Arabia, 2019 over 2018, and whose NOK sought State assistance in the repatriation process, increased by eight (7.77 per cent) to 111. The next highest in 2019 was Kuwait, with a figure of 76, up by three (4.11 per cent) over the corresponding figure in 2018. Third highest in 2019 was Qatar with a figure of 49. Meanwhile, the fourth highest in 2019 was Dubai (31) down one (3.13 per cent) over its 2018 figure of 32. Fifth highest was Italy, down seven (18.42 per cent) to 24, YoY to 2019 and seventh was Malaysia, with 19 in 2019, down two (11.76 per cent) over its 2018 figure. In related developments, Lebanon, in 2019, with a figure of 17, up 12 (240 per cent) YoY had the position of recording the eighth largest number of Sri Lankans who died that year and whose NOK requested State assistance to repatriate their bodies. Ninth highest in 2019 was Oman with a figure of 14, and the 10th highest Japan, 13, up seven (116.67 per cent) over 2018.