UN agencies in Sri Lanka say they have raised $79 million in aid, needing an additional $70 million to cater to the growing number of poor.
The number of people in Sri Lanka in urgent need of humanitarian help has doubled to 3.4 million, the United Nations says, as warnings of a worsening food crisis in the South Asian island nation have announced. bankruptcy in July amid an unprecedented economic crisis.
UN agencies working in Sri Lanka in a joint statement on Tuesday said they had raised $79 million to feed those in need, but the growing number of poor means the need for an additional 70 million dollars.
“Food insecurity in Sri Lanka has been exacerbated by two consecutive poor harvests, foreign exchange shortages and reduced household purchasing power,” the statement said.
United Nations agencies estimated in June that 1.7 million of the total population of 22 million in Sri Lanka need help.
The UN says its revised plan aims to feed 2.1 million people, including pregnant mothers and school-going children, and support the livelihoods of 1.5 million farmers and fishermen.
The worst crisis
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. Inflation soarspower outages and fuel allocation since last year.
The country defaulted on an external debt of $51 billion 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 medicine that led to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ouster in July.
The United Nations says the South Asian country’s poverty rate has doubled to 25.6% this year, up from 13.1% last year.