When we think of Maldives, we think of the turquoise waters and pristine beaches where Bollywood celebs frequently go for their vacations. But beyond this touristy, sun-kissed image of paradise lies the reality of cramped and inhuman spaces filled with abused migrant workers.
What? In a tragic incident in the Maldivian capital Male, a fire has killed at least nine Indian migrant workers. AFP reported that the fire broke out on Thursday, November 10 in a building where foreign workers were lodged.
It took about four hours for the fire officials to put out the blaze. Reportedly, among the dead is also a Bangladeshi national.
The Indian High Commission in Maldives condoled the tragic incident.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic fire incident in Malé which has caused loss of lives, including reportedly of Indian nationals.— India in Maldives (@HCIMaldives) November 10, 2022
We are in close contact with the Maldivian authorities.
For any assistance, HCI can be reached on following numbers:
+9607361452 ; +9607790701
How did the fire start? The fire reportedly started from the vehicle repair garage on the ground floor and the bodies were discovered on the upper floor of the building.
NDMA has established an evacuation center in Maafannu Stadium for those displaced and affected by the fire in Male'. Arrangements are being made to provide relief assistance and support.— NDMA Maldives (@NDMAmv) November 10, 2022
The tragedy only highlights the inhuman conditions that migrant workers in Maldives have been subjected to. And it is definitely not what anyone signs up for when they pay upwards of $2,000 (roughly Rs 1.63 lakh) to their agents who promise them decent jobs.
Poor living conditions: The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the despicable living conditions of foreign workers in Maldives when infections started spreading three times faster among foreign workers than among local residents.
We spoke to the Indian migrant workers who protested in Hulhumale on 6 July.— ނަވާނަވައި (@navaanavai) July 8, 2020
They are employed by a company called Island Expert to build the police flats in Hulhumale. The following three videos shows the appalling conditions they've been forced to live in.#visitmaldives
The kind of abuses migrant workers face in Maldives: