Sri Lanka

WFP Sri Lanka Country Brief, March 2022

Attachments

In Numbers

45 percent of women of reproductive age group are overweight or obese; (Demographic and Health Survey, Sri Lanka, 2016). 33 percent of pregnant and nursing women are anaemic (WFP).

Situation Updates

• With Sri Lanka suffering a severe economic crisis with the depletion of foreign exchange reserves, demonstrations were held regularly in the capital city of Colombo and other towns around the country. One such demonstration on the evening of 31 March 2022 near the President’s private residence took a violent turn as protestors attempted to storm the President’s residence. The Police anti-riot squad reportedly fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters. The police imposed a curfew in Colombo was subsequently lifted early the next day. The declaration of a public emergency was also revoked. This incident marked a turning point in public anger in their perception of the Government’s inability to address the economic crisis, the rising cost of living, shortages of petrol/ diesel, liquid petroleum gas, food and medicine, and the power-outages of nearly 12 hours. Mass protests started in Colombo and other districts demanding the resignation of the President and the Government. The full cabinet of Ministers resigned along with many other key officials, and a plan to form an all-party interim government was discussed. This was however, rejected by opposition political parties. Discussions are continuing, to find a way out of the current political impasse.

• With inflation rates reaching 18.7 percent in March, the Government appointed a new Governor to the Central Bank to take corrective measures to steer the economy, ahead of talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bail-out package.

• COVID-19 infections continued to rise, bringing the total cases to 661,453. Deaths also increased to 16,473, but so did the cumulative recoveries, totalling 637,240. The third booster dose has been taken by 7.8 million people out of a total vaccinated population of 13.4 million.