THE government has helped more than 81,000 overseas Filipinos affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

“The Labor department has provided cash, food and medical assistance to 81,388 overseas Filipino workers (OFW),” it said in a statement on Sunday.

Food and medicines were given to 3,637 OFWs from Asia and the Pacific, 66,271 from the Middle East and Africa and 9,403 from Europe and the Americas, it said, citing data from the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices.

In a separate statement on Sunday, the agency said the number of stranded OFWs have reached 98,615, citing reports from more than 40 Philippine labor offices abroad.

These workers were either affected by lockdowns, distressed and wanted to come home or could not return home because of travel restrictions.

“Of the total stranded OFWs, 83,483 are in the Middle East while 12,050 of them are in Europe and the American region and 3,082 in nearby Asian countries,” the Labor department said.

Its initial estimate of 300,000 OFWs affected by the global pandemic has increased to 320,000. — Gillian M. Cortez