Sri Lanka Multi-Dimensional Crisis Situation Report No. 4 (2 September 2022)

 


Sri Lanka Multi-Dimensional Crisis Situation Report No. 4 (2 September 2022)

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This report is produced by the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) on behalf of the ISCG. The updates below cover activities carried out between 13 August 2022 and 26 August and provide an overview of response activities to meet the needs articulated in the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • An estimated 5.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.9 million being food insecure. A total of 1.7 million are prioritized through the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan, launched on 9 June 2022.

  • The HNP Plan calls for US$47.2 million to implement responses to lifesaving priorities between June and September 2022, with a particular emphasis on averting a further deterioration of needs in lifesaving sectors and thus prevent a full-scale humanitarian crisis.

  • The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has approved a US$5 million rapid response allocation to address urgent needs on food assistance, basic agricultural and livelihoods support, vital and essential medicines and supplies, child protection, nutrition, safe water and education in priority districts.

  • Harvesting for the Yala season has begun in some areas of Sri Lanka. A significant decline in yields is expected, compounded by the shortage of fuel and fertiliser. The Government of Sri Lanka is rationing fuel and has implemented fuel subsidies for mechanised harvesting to mitigate the situation.

  • Heavy rains in early August have caused floods and landslides in parts of Sri Lanka, displacing more than 12,000 people and further compounding the humanitarian situation.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Sri Lanka continues to experience an unprecedented economic crisis with high inflation, rising commodity prices, power shortages and lack of fuel. The crisis is deepened by a serious reduction in agricultural production caused by a failed agricultural transition. Following heavy shortages of food, fuel, medicines, and other essential items, mass protests broke out in March 2022. On 13 July, the President of Sri Lanka left the country and the Prime Minister, in his capacity as an acting President, declared a state of emergency.

While food inflation remains at a record high, the price of rice has stabilized during the last reporting period, with the supply of paddy having increased. However, with reduced yields expected in the upcoming harvest season, the situation is likely to deteriorate before it gets better. Prices for other food items continue to increase due to rising fuel prices, shortages of fertiliser and a shortage of animal meal.

On 15 August, President Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed the heads of government agencies to limit government expenditure, and the introduction of a fuel rationing system has helped to some extent alleviate fuel shortages. This is expected to provide some relief to farmers during the harvesting of the Yala season, which has already begun in some areas, and the government has established mechanisms to supply fuel for mechanised harvesting. Still, many humanitarian partners continue to report challenges in their ability to access communities.

The Ministry of Health developed an emergency nutrition plan with the support of WFP and other development agencies, but details of the plan are still being worked on.

Heavy rains in the beginning of August have caused floods and landslides, in which at least five people have died and more than 12,000 people have been displaced.

Starting in mid-July there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, culminating on 10 August with 227 cases reported. While cases are again on the decline, the numbers need to be treated with caution as active cases are barely tracked and new, more transmissive variants such Omicron BA.5, are on the rise. Also, during the reporting period, dengue cases have been identified, predominantly in the western part of Sri Lanka, but also in Kandy, Galle, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Kegalle and Rathnapura.

Ever since the economic crisis escalated, there has been a marked increase in high-risk child protection incidents such as sexual assault, physical abuse and child negligence. Officials predict that the situation will further deteriorate with an increasing number of child protection cases occurring, unless the current crisis is mitigated. Save the Children conducted a rapid needs assessment which confirmed this negative trend.

The Sri Lankan government announced that starting 15 August, schools will be open again five days a week, after previously being open only three days a week. Transportation to and from schools remains a key constraint for both students and teachers, but due to the government intervention and the introduction of the fuel supply rationing, transportation has become more stable again.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.



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