Sri Lanka

WFP Sri Lanka Country Brief, March 2020

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In Numbers

45 percent of women in the reproductive age group are overweight or obese

33 percent of pregnant and lactating women are anaemic

USD 3,171 cash-based transfers in March 2020

US$ 3.21 million – Six months net funding requirement (March 2020 – September 2020)

Situation Update

• The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported on 27 January in Sri Lanka, and rose to 122 confirmed cases by the end of March, with two deaths occurring and 16 cases recovering completely. The Army has set up 45 quarantine centers around the country to tackle the pandemic. Over 14,000 people who had contacted the identified patients have been ordered to take selfquarantine measures.

• Schools have been closed for a 5-week period from 12 March to 20 April. This affects the provision of school meals and WFP is engaging in ongoing discussions with the Government on remedial measures.

• From 18 March, the Government imposed an emergency curfew in certain districts and followed it with a lockdown-style curfew for the entire island, with intermittent relaxations to allow people to purchase essential items. Essential service workers are allowed to operate, as are smallholder farmers and tea and other cash crop producers. The parliamentary elections due in April have been postponed.

• Arrivals by air and sea into the country were suspended from 19 March except for the arrival of cargo and WFP has had discussions on the arrangements for clearance of food commodity cargo in case of future need.

• Together with the private sector and state food distribution agencies, the Government organised door delivery of essential food items across the country throughout the curfew period. Government interventions brought soaring food prices under control, while many social assistance packages for vulnerable populations were initiated. The Central Bank has introduced measures to further prevent the depreciation of local currency and curtail expenditure such as suspending the import of motor vehicles and non-essential goods for the next three months.