Seylan offers to repatriate Lebanon workers
A top commercial bank – concerned with the
plight of fleeing migrant workers in Lebanon – is offering
to repatriate trapped workers who maintain foreign currency accounts
with them, by air at no cost.
Lalith Kotelawala, chairman of Seylan Bank said
the bank thought of helping its customers who have been loyal to
them for years. “We have 1,000-2,000 account holders in Lebanon
and many more in the Middle East and they have been loyal to us.
We owe them some gratitude and thought of helping bring them back,”
The bank, among several local banks that have
thousands of foreign currency accounts maintained by Sri Lankan
migrant workers, placed advertisements in newspapers offering their
help. It asked relatives of migrant workers in Lebanon to provide
them details of where the workers are and contact details.“We
have set up a call centre and hot lines. We will not abandon them
in this moment of need,” he said adding that they would be
repatriated even if it means chartering special flights. Kotelawala,
probably Sri Lanka’s richest man and who donates a lot for
charity, said if others there are also seeking help but are non
-Seylan Bank customers, “ we will help them on humanitarian
Bank officials some progress was being made based
on the inquiries but that the situation is still fluid in Lebanon
to work on some help-initiatives.