Thiruvananthapuram: While the Kerala model has been globally lauded for containing the COVID-19 disease, expats from God's own country settled in the Middle East have not been able to fight the virus, with the toll of Keralites settled in the Gulf nation touching 100 on Saturday.
The lure of the Middle East over the past four decades with the remittance economy has been the backbone of Kerala for years.
UAE has had the highest death toll of 62, followed by Kuwait (18), Saudi Arabia (17), Oman (2) and Qatar (1).
According to studies, there are around 2.5 million Keralites in the Middle East. The dead were not brought back, but buried in foreign lands, as per protocol.
Ever since the Kerala government opened a web portal for all those who wished to return, close to four lakh people -- a majority from across the Middle East -- have registered.
"It's really sad to hear the grieving of people whose near and dear ones passed away due to Covid in these countries, but are not able to bring their bodies for the last rites to their hometown. All we can wish and hope at the moment is things clear up fast and normalcy returns," said a leading politician, who did not wished to be identified.