Sri Lanka

WFP Sri Lanka Country Brief, June 2019

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In Numbers

Poor nutrition among women of reproductive age remains an issue in Sri Lanka, with 10 percent underweight and 45 percent overweight or obese. Meanwhile, 33 percent of pregnant and lactating women are anaemic.

Sri Lanka ranks 2nd of 176 countries prone to climate shocks (Global Climate Risk Index)

US$ 2.79 million six-month net funding requirement (July – December 2019)

Operational Updates

• The quarterly Climate and Food Security Monitoring Bulletin was prepared by WFP for April-June 2019. It highlights the current dry spell and temperature increases and their impacts on various sectors. The bulletin was developed using the ‘Platform for Realtime Information and Situation Monitoring’ or ‘PRISM’, a data-driven tool developed by WFP, with information from the Government of Sri Lanka.

According to the climate impact analysis, countrywide reservoirs were filled to 50 percent of their total capacity in May 2019, but water levels had fallen to 36 percent by mid-June due to evapotranspiration in the warm weather conditions.
Forecasts predict that rainfall remain below normal and temperatures will be above normal in July. This will add to the scarcity of drinking water and limit agriculture production.
The bulletin concluded with key short to medium term recommendations to reduce the impact of the dry weather and to address short-term food insecurity. They include the preparation of contingency plans to preserve water resources, the promotion of drought-tolerant crops, the renovation of wells and the implementation of cash for work and other climate-resilience building activities that improve community-level agricultural infrastructure.

• WFP, in partnership with the Medical Research Institute, the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, and Sri Lanka Medical Nutrition Association, coordinated the 2019 Food Security and Nutrition in Emergencies training course, which took place in June. The five-day course, which was attended by 51 medical doctors specialising in nutrition and eight disaster management professionals, developed knowledge and skills in assessing food security status and nutritional challenges in emergency situations.

• WFP trained 166 personnel from the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration in emergency management. The training focused on emergency management concepts and contingency planning, as well as the use of incident management systems.

• In June, 100 beneficiaries of the Department of Samurdhi Development (Sri Lanka’s national social safety net system) in four districts received a SCOPE ID card and real-time payment update when coming to collect their monthly remittance, concluding the first of three payment cycles in a pilot between Samurdhi and WFP. The pilot aims to digitalize the identification and payment of beneficiaries, which was previously done manually at the Samurdhi Bank in the communities. The digitalization uses ‘SCOPE’ WFP’s beneficiary registration and transfer management tool. The second cycle will take place in mid-July.

• June was National Nutrition Month. As part of the campaign to increase awareness about nutrition, WFP and UNFPA supported the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine to pilot a session on cookery demonstration from the series of workshops on ‘From Home Garden to Table: grow, harvest prepare, share.’ This project aims to support nutrition sensitive agriculture, practices for home gardening, cash management for better nutrition, food demonstration and healthy eating behaviours through knowledge-based training sessions at community level. In addition to the pilot programme, the Government will also organize 18 cookery demonstration sessions in the 6 districts that the WFP/UNFPA CHANGE project is implemented, targeting the mother support group members.

Challenges

• The political situation in Sri Lanka continues to be precarious, following the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday and ahead of presidential elections due in November-December.