A man walks past graffiti reading 'virus' on a wall in Beirut, Lebanon. A Filipino maid reportedly committed suicide in Lebanon after running into financial difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Patrick Baz/AFP)
A female domestic worker from the Philippines has committed suicide in Lebanese capital Beirut after running into financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to officials.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila said the woman, who had been staying at a shelter provided by the Philippine government, died after jumping from the building on May 23.
Reports say the woman, who was not named, was staying at the shelter due to “employment issues” triggered by the pandemic.
Lebanese families are reportedly not paying foreign maids their agreed salaries due to economic problems brought about by Covid-19, the DFA said.
It is believed the Lebanese family who employed the victim laid her off after running into financial problems themselves due to an economic downturn.
Half of Lebanon’s population are now living below the poverty line with the national debt having ballooned to US$86 billion in recent months after the country imposed lockdowns in March.
A full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death has been launched, the DFA said.
Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin reassured the woman’s family that her body would be brought home despite lockdown restrictions in both countries.
The incident is the second coronavirus-related suicide recorded by Philippine authorities.
On April 26, a 42-year-old repatriated overseas worker was found dead while undergoing a 14 day-quarantine in Manila. Algen Cadungog hanged herself with a scarf tied to a staircase banister at a state lodging facility.
Meanwhile, a Catholic school is offering free Filipino sign language classes online starting May 30.
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde announced on May 23 that its School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies is offering the classes to raise funds for deaf people living in the school’s dormitory.
“The course is free but participants are encouraged to donate to the #SignForSigns Fundraising Campaign,” a college social media post said.