The significant reduction in agricultural production in Sri Lanka, compounded by the rising prices of fuel and basic food items, have made food unaffordable for a segment of the population, and the government has forecasted food shortages during the next months. It is estimated that only 24 per cent of the usually worked land has been cultivated for the upcoming season. Surveys indicate that up to 70 per cent of households have had to reduce food consumption as food prices have reportedly increased by 73 per cent in the last two years.
Hospitals in the country report shortages of essential medicines and other health items, while frequent power outages affect the delivery of health services. The shortage of medicines has paralyzed about 50 per cent of medical operations in the country. The multi-dimensional crisis in Sri Lanka has inevitably brought more protection issues to the pre-existing chronic inequalities experienced by its people. An estimated 5.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 25 districts across the country. (OCHA, 9 Jun 2022)
The United Nations has launched a US$47.2 million plan for the period June through September, to respond to the Government’s request for support. The Government announced a two-week shutdown of government services and schools in Colombo to reduce the number of people taking private and public transportation as fuel stocks are predicted to run out in five days. In health, currently close to 200 essential medicines are now out of stock, with a predicted shortage of another 163 critical over the next two to three months. Additionally, over 2,700 essential surgical and more than 250 regular laboratory items are also out of stock. Due to power cuts and the lack of fuel to operate generators, many hospitals have had to postpone non-urgent surgeries and procedures. WFP has activated an emergency response to the food crisis, focusing on urgent programmes to save lives and mitigate growing food insecurity among 3 million of the most vulnerable people of Sri Lanka from June through December 2022. (WFP, 22 Jun 2022)