Thousands of Asian workers stranded in Saudi Arabia
THOUSANDS of jobless Indians, Filipinos and Pakistanis are stranded and destitute in Saudi Arabia after the plunge in oil prices sparked construction layoffs, activists and officials said.
Some Filipinos are forced to beg or sift through rubbish to survive after going unpaid for months, said Garry Martinez, chair of the Migrante group which works for the millions of Filipino overseas workers worldwide.
“Some of them have nothing to eat and have to go through the garbage for food,” said Mr Martinez on August 2.
India said on August 1 it was negotiating with Saudi authorities to repatriate thousands of its own nationals after they lost their jobs, leaving them with no money to return home.
Indians are among millions of poor Asians working in the Gulf states, where human rights groups say many suffer exploitation and abuses, including non-payment of wages.
Migrante coordinator Gilbert Saludo – who returned from Saudi Arabia last month after two years working there – said as many as 20,000 Filipinos could be affected. Mr Saludo said Manila had extended financial aid to them.
Pakistan said 8520 of its nationals had not been receiving their salaries for several months. –
Pedestrians pass the Indian embassy in Riyadh on August 2. New Delhi is feeding over 10,000 Indian labourers stranded in the Gulf with no wages after losing their jobs.