As the new coronavirus rampaged through the world, leaving death, illness and economic hardship in its wake, how did Sri Lankans abroad manage, especially those in West Asia?

The Board of Directors of the SLCSC

Into the forefront in Oman, where there are 32,000 Sri Lankans working in different capacities, ranging from domestic helpers to doctors, owners of businesses to bankers, quantity surveyors to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), came the Sri Lankan Community Social Club (SLCSC).

By April 10, the Muscat governorate in Oman was in lockdown lifted and re-imposed twice, until May 29.

Three Sri Lankan men have died (a 43-year-old on May 8; a 53-year-old on June 6; and a 54-year-old on August 20) up to now in Oman, with over 250 Sri Lankans being infected by COVID-19.

The SLCSC, a charitable non-profit organization established in 1997, had got galvanized to bring about a safe environment for Sri Lankans, says SLCSC President Roy Lasantha, adding that they moved away from its main objectives to support Oman’s Supreme Committee for Dealing with COVID-19.

Some measures initiated by the SLCSC are:


  •   A 24/7 Hotline to register and provide guidance to any Sri Lankan either affected by COVID-19 or has had contact with a patient.
  •   A 24/7 free Ambulance Service for Sri Lankans in Oman’s capital Muscat to facilitate transport for testing or to go to hospital.
  •   A COVID-19 Medical Assistance Programme with the voluntary services of more than 30 Sri Lankan doctors to advise and monitor Sri Lankans either affected by the virus or in quarantine due to coming into close contact with infected persons.
  •   A COVID-19 Contact Tracing Group through which Sri Lankan volunteers tracked, traced, monitored and kept in isolation for a week, Sri Lankans with first layer and second layer close contacts. This was to prevent the spread of the disease within the Sri Lankan community.


Roy says that in the first week of April, they distributed 1,500 packs of dry rations to those affected by the lockdown and social distancing in the areas of Nizwa, Buraimi, Sohar, Salalah and Muscat. They have launched a second round recently.

As the pandemic dragged on, the SLCSC realized that people living in isolation were facing anxiety and stress and to alleviate this they organized online entertainment programmes.

Explaining that in Oman, safe houses were set up for women who were homeless with no income due to the pandemic, Roy says that the SLCSC realized that there were also men who needed shelter, food, financial assistance and protection. They then rented a building and set up a welfare facility with a capacity of accommodating 24 in Wadi Kabir, for Sri Lankan men who were jobless and homeless.


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