The Government of Japan announced a USD 1.5million (LKR 600 million) funding to help the Government of Sri Lanka respond to the ongoing economic crisis. The funds will be used by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food assistance to children and families in need of support.
Charge d’ Affaires ad interim of Japan to Sri Lanka Mr. KATSUKI Kotaro said, “We are pleased to announce that the Government of Japan will grant USD 1.5 million emergency assistance through WFP to provide three months’ essential food supplies, including fortified rice, dhal, and oil, for approximately 15,000 urban and rural people and 380,000 school children across the island. Japan has been extending vital protein to children through the provision of canned fish made in Japan worth a total of USD 10 million as school meal programs over the past 10 years. We hope that this humanitarian assistance will help improve food access and nutrition for the people of Sri Lanka amidst the economic crisis.”
Sri Lanka has been severely impacted by a weakening economy which has resulted in shortages of essential items, including food, and a spike in food prices, hindering families’ access to affordable, healthy meals. Even before the pandemic, malnutrition rates were high among children and women. Some 40 percent of primary-age children were too thin for their height.
WFP will use the contribution to procure rice for the national school meal program to ensure children can continue receiving a significant portion of their daily energy and nutrition requirements through the free school meals. It will also enable WFP to distribute ration packs comprising essential commodities to vulnerable households.
“Getting the right nutrition to those who need it the most will help mitigate the long-term effects of the economic downturn,” says Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sri Lanka. “WFP is very grateful for Japan’s contribution at this critical hour. We thank Japan for its generosity and solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. WFP will support the Sri Lankan Government with emergency food assistance based on assessments that identify the most pressing needs.”