From June through September, the UN and NGOs in Sri Lanka announced an unified Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan to provide life-saving assistance to 1.7 million people who have been struck hardest by the economic crisis.
This directly responds to the Sri Lankan government’s request for UN-backed multi-sector international assistance to address the most pressing needs that have arisen as a result of the recent crisis, with a focus on health as well as medical supplies, food production aimed nutrition services—safe drinkable water, urgent livelihood opportunities, and safeguards.
5.7 million women, children, and men in Sri Lanka, according to development and humanitarian partners, require life-saving assistance.
The livelihoods, food security, and health care of 1.7 million people targeted by the HNP are in jeopardy. They require assistance.
“If we don’t act now, many people will be unable to fulfil their basic food needs,” said UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, emphasising the importance of avoiding a humanitarian disaster later this year by linking development and socio-economic measures.
“Sri Lanka’s once-strong healthcare system is in risk, and the most vulnerable are bearing the brunt of the consequences.” Now is the time for the international community to help the people of Sri Lanka. “The UN and humanitarian partners are urging donors, the commercial sector, and citizens to rapidly support this strategy to assist women, men, and children who have been impacted by the tragedy,” she said.
Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic downturn since independence. Food inflation hit 57.4% in May, and there are still severe shortages of food, gasoline, and electricity.
The economy is expected to collapse severely due to a scarcity of manufacturing inputs, an 80% depreciation of the currency (since March 2022), and a lack of foreign reserves.
Food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and health care have all been impacted by the economic crisis. The last crop was 40 to 50% smaller than the previous year, and the current agricultural season is in jeopardy due to seed, fertiliser, fuel, and financial difficulties.
Food aid is required by 5 million persons (22% of the population). According to recent data, 86 percent of households reduce their food consumption or skip meals to cope.
Nearly 200 important drugs are already unavailable, with 163 more shortages expected in the next two to three months. Over 2,700 surgical and 250 laboratory goods are currently unavailable.
Many hospitals have postponed routine procedures and treatments due to power outages and a lack of generator fuel.