93 Kenyans have died in Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries since 2019, the government has said.
This, the labour PS Peter Tum said was attributed to deaths due to Covid-19, cardiac arrest, cancer, childbirth, respiratory complications, tuberculosis and meningitis.
The PS was appearing before the National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee which is chaired by MP Wachira Kabinga.
Other deaths, the PS said was due to suicide and accidents.
“Since January 2019, the ministry has received reports of 93 deaths of migrant workers in the Gulf region,” the PS said.
This comes as cases of deaths and mistreatment of Kenyan workers in Saudi Arabia have been on the rise.
For instance, nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi questioned the numbers given by PS Tum adding that in Vihiga County alone, close to 20 cases of Kenyan workers dying in Saudi Arabia had been reported.
Osotsi thus wants the Labour Ministry to issue a comprehensive report on the number of Kenyans who have died in the gulf while ideally calling on the government to investigate recruitment agencies that are involved in the same.
In the past year alone, stories of Kenyans enslaved in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have been on the rise with their parents calling on the government to help bring the victims back.
Last week, a Kenyan domestic worker, Patricia Wanja Kimani who worked in Saudi Arabia for four months was finally reunited with the family after months of enslavement.
Wanja, 28, left Kenya with the help of Maharan Human Resources Company, a Nairobi-based recruitment agency, which later abandoned her.
Upon landing in the gulf country, the agency confiscated her travel documents and later assigned her a working station.
Her woes, the mother of two said, started the same day she met her employer who reprimanded her for allegedly damaging the vacuum cleaner. The repairs, she said, cost more than her salary.
Before leaving Kenya, Wanja had been informed that she would be pocketing a gross salary of Sh30,000. But before she boarded the plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the agency lowered the amount to Sh24,000.
“Since they handled the payment for my travels, I had no option but to travel,” she told a local publication.
On May 21, Wanja shared a video in which she complained about her beastly employer.
In the video that went viral, Wanja said, “I have grown so weak but I keep working because I don’t want to go back to the office. The supervisor told us that whoever complains becomes imprisoned. I kept quiet about a lot of things because I didn’t want to risk imprisonment in a place where our girls have been disappearing mysteriously!”