The United Nations warn of a worsening of the food crisis in Sri Lanka

The United Nations warn of a worsening of the food crisis in Sri Lanka


The United Nations on Tuesday warned the food crisis in bankrupt Sri Lanka was deepening and said the number of people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance had doubled to 3.4 million.

UN agencies estimated in June that 1.7 million of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people were in need of assistance.

UN agencies in Colombo said in a joint statement they had raised $79 million to feed those in need, but the increasing number of poor people meant they needed an additional $70 million.

“Food insecurity in Sri Lanka has increased dramatically due to two consecutive seasons of poor harvests, foreign exchange shortages and reduced household purchasing power,” the statement said.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, and has been suffering from runaway inflation, power cuts and fuel rationing for the past year.

The country defaulted on its $51 billion external debt in mid-April and is in talks with the IMF for a $2.9 billion bailout.

Months of protests against high prices and shortages of food and medicines led to the overthrow of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July.

The United Nations said its revised plan aims to feed 2.1 million people, including pregnant mothers and schoolchildren, and provide livelihoods for 1.5 million farmers and fishermen.

It also said the poverty rate in the South Asian nation has doubled to 25.6 percent this year, up from 13.1 percent last year.

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