Asian nations ready to evacuate workers in MidEastWorld | 6 Jan 2020 3:46 pm
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to prepare to deploy its aircraft and ships “at any moment’s notice” to evacuate thousands of Filipino workers in Iraq and Iran, reflecting Asia’s growing fears for its citizens amid a potential outbreak of violence in the Middle East.
Other Asian nations with large populations of expatriate labor may face similar decisions amid the rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and Iran following last week’s U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said last week it would work to increase the security of about 1,600 of its nationals in Iraq, where they work mostly in construction sites. India’s foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said India wasn’t planning to evacuate any citizens from the volatile region “yet.”
Asians make up 40 percent of the world’s migrants, and Middle Eastern countries are a common destination. African migrants are also employed around the Middle East, though the possibility of their home countries arranging evacuations was uncertain.
Gulf Arab states are home to more than 7 million Indian expatriates who help drive the region’s economy and keep its cities teeming with doctors, engineers, teachers, drivers, construction workers and other laborers. In United Arab Emirates, Indians outnumber Emiratis three to one.-AP