No fewer than 5.7 million Sri Lankans, or 26 per cent of the country’s population, need humanitarian aid.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said on Friday, warning that an ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka was likely to deepen the situation.
The OCHA said in a statement that without immediate humanitarian assistance and upstream interventions to address the fragility of systems, services and facilities, this number will multiply and the consequences will deepen in the South Asian country.
“Food security and livelihoods have suffered directly because of the economic crisis, while access and availability of basic services such as education and healthcare, including hospital maternity care, and sexual and reproductive health services had been disrupted,’’ it said.
“A serious decline in domestic agricultural output brought on by an unsuccessful agricultural transition to organic farming has deepened the crisis,’’ the UN agency added.
At the community and family level, the OCHA said the macroeconomic collapse in Sri Lanka had translated into a complex humanitarian emergency, as millions of people were increasingly suffering, with severe shortages of food, fuel, cooking gas, medicine, and other essentials.
Ninety-six per cent of households in the survey had been affected by the current crisis and the three main priority needs at the household level concerned food, health and livelihoods.
Sri Lanka has been facing one of its worst economic crises as the country suffers a shortage in foreign currency, which led to a shortage of essential supplies and even food items.