Over 6.2 million people in Sri Lanka are facing severe food insecurity, and the situation is expected to worsen unless the problem is tackled by social assistance and livelihood support mechanisms, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.
“Over 6.2 million people [in Sri Lanka] (28 percent of the population) are estimated to be moderately acute food insecure and 66,000 people to be severely acute food insecure,” the FAO and WFP said in a joint report, adding that the food security in the country “may continue deteriorating driven by shortages of imported goods, increased prices, livelihood disruption and reduced crop production.”
The UN believes that the situation in Sri Lanka is likely to worsen during the lean season from October 2022 to February 2023. In this connection, the country’s government and its humanitarian and development partners should provide coordinated support for the people estimated to be moderately or severely food insecure through expanded food assistance and livelihood programs, according to the report.
Sri Lanka has been facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from the British rule in 1948. The dire situation resulted from shortages of foreign currency as tourist flows dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the country from purchasing enough fuel. The pandemic has also negatively impacted remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. There is an acute shortage of food and basic necessities, including fuel and gas, with many parts of the island nation suffering from continuous power blackouts.