Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. More than 5,000 workers have returned to Bangladesh from the UAE in recent days. Picture for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: More than 100 bodies of Bangladeshis, who had died due to reasons other than a coronavirus infection, were repatriated by the Bangladesh Embassy in Abu Dhabi over the past 45 days. In addition, 5,000 Bangladeshi workers were sent back home through chartered and special flights, a top official from the embassy told Gulf News.

Many relatives of Bangladeshis who had died a “natural death” in the UAE were awaiting the bodies of their kin back home. However, due to travel restrictions, these bodies could not be flown to Bangladesh and were lying in UAE mortuaries since March. But gradually, the mission helped in their repatriation, Mohammad Mizanur Rehman, Charge d’Affaires at the Bangladesh Embassy, said.

Rehman said the embassy started repatriating bodies on cargo flights, in collaboration with the UAE and Bangladeshi governments.

“More than 20 special flights carried over 5,000 people back to Bangladesh from the UAE, in cooperation with UAE authorities,” Rehman said.

The embassy also chartered eight flights to send people who were distressed or had lost their jobs back home, he added. He said 20 more bodies were still to be sent back home -- 10 each from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Rehman said workers who were not able to afford travel expenses after they had lost their jobs were helped by the embassy, while companies also provided financial support.

Rehman urged the Bangladeshi community in the UAE to be patient and approach the mission for help. He said: “This is a testing time for all, whether people are in Bangladesh or in the UAE. But the mission provides people with support to send them back home.”

The diplomat also appreciated the efforts of the UAE Government in combating the COVID-19 crisis and termed it as one of the best in the world.

“I ask my community people to cooperate with the local government as well. Our people consider themselves fortunate to reside in this country, which takes care of them and provides a peaceful stay in the UAE,” Rehman added.