BANGKOK/COLOMBO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed an AUD 22 million (US 15 million) contribution from the Government of Australia to help millions of Sri Lankans who are unable to afford food. On 16 June, WFP launched a US$ 60 million emergency food and nutrition assistance for 3 million of the most at-risk Sri Lankans who are facing food insecurity in the face of a record high food inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices and widespread shortages of key commodities. Monthly food vouchers valued at Rs. 15,000 (US$ 40) are being distributed to pregnant women from some of the poorest neighbourhoods, delivered alongside antenatal care provided by the local government.
“We are deeply grateful to the Australian Government for this critical funding. At a time when millions of people are struggling to meet their most basic food needs, and while families’ coping capacities are being stretched to the limit, we can avert a worsening humanitarian crisis by stepping up our response, now,” said John Aylieff, WFP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
The Australian funding will help WFP provide critical assistance to the most at-risk Sri Lankans, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and school children. To boost existing social safety net programmes, WFP is working to assist one million children through the national school meal programme, one million people participating in the Thriposha programme - which provides fortified food to mothers and children, and one million people in need of emergency food assistance through food, cash or vouchers.
Nearly five million people - or 22 percent of the Sri Lankan population - are food insecure and in need of assistance. Nutritious foods, such as vegetables, fruits and protein-rich products are now out of reach for many low-income families. WFP’s recent surveys indicated 86 percent of families are resorting to at least one coping mechanism, including eating less, eating less nutritious food and even skipping meals altogether.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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Kun LI, WFP/ Bangkok,
Mob. +66 84 555 8994|
Tanya Jansz, WFP/Colombo,
Mob. +94 769 102 462