Sri Lanka’s economic crisis spiralling into food crisis

Fishermen on the south east coast of Sri Lanka sit on stilts in the sea awaiting their daily catch

Fishermen on the south east coast of Sri Lanka sit on stilts in the sea awaiting their daily catch

Photo: IFRC/Arne Hodalic

Kuala Lumpur/Colombo, 8 June 2022 – The economic crisis in Sri Lanka is spiralling into a humanitarian emergency as millions of people face acute shortages of food, fuel, cooking gas and medicine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) warned today.

Responding to the unfolding emergency, the IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal for 28 million Swiss francs to provide immediate critical relief and for longer recovery efforts for an estimated 500,000 people.

Sri Lanka Red Cross Secretary General, Mahesh Gunasekara, said:

“The situation has taken a devastating turn for people already struggling to put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s even worse for single parent households, those without steady work and those already suffering a loss of income.

“We need international support now to help hundreds of thousands of people pull their lives back together. It’s going to be a long, tough road for people to rebuild and get their lives back on track.”

The civil unrest and food shortages gripping the country were sparked by an economic crisis that has been developing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharp declines in agriculture production have resulted in rapid price increase for staple food items like rice and vegetable, which directly impact the household economy and food security of the most vulnerable.

IFRC Head of South Asia Delegation, Udaya Regmi, said:

“We hold grave concerns for the most vulnerable communities across the country – some 2.4 million people already living below the poverty line who are most affected by the loss of livelihoods, food shortages, and the spiraling cost of essential items.

“The emergency appeal that we have launched in support of Sri Lanka Red Cross will protect the livelihoods and safety of thousands of households in need of support.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Colombo:
Rachel Punitha, +60-19-791-3830,
[email protected]

Kuala Lumpur:
Joe Cropp, +61 (0) 491 743 089,
[email protected]