Sri Lanka on verge of full-blown humanitarian emergency: UN

The United Nations’ humanitarian agency (OCHA) warned on Friday that Sri Lanka is on the verge of a full-fledged humanitarian emergency as the country’s economy suffers its worst shock in decades.

The 22 million inhabitants of Sri Lanka are facing the country’s worst financial crisis in seven decades, with significant shortages of fuel, medicines, and other commodities, as well as record inflation and currency depreciation.

“Sri Lanka is in the midst of its biggest economic crisis since its 1948 independence. We are afraid that this situation might escalate into a full-fledged humanitarian crisis “Jens Laerke, a spokeswoman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, remarked during a routine UN press conference in Geneva.

The UN said on Thursday that it has initiated a plan to offer $47.2 million in assistance to 1.7 million people most affected by the crisis between June and September, in response to a request from the government.

According to Christian Skoog, a UNICEF official in Sri Lanka, 70 percent of Sri Lankan households have already cut food intake, and one in every two children need some type of emergency help.

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