Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Amid the unprecedented fuel crisis in the country, former Lankan cricketer Roshan Mahanama was spotted serving tea and buns to people waiting in lines outside the stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.
“We served tea and buns with the team from Community Meal Share this evening for the people at the petrol queues around Ward Place and Wijerama mawatha. The queues are getting longer by the day and there will be many health risks to people staying in queues,” Mahanama tweeted. The former Sri Lankan batsman urged people to look after each other and advised them to bring adequate fluid and food while waiting in the lines for hours.
“Please, look after each other in the fuel queues. Bring adequate fluid and food and if you’re not well please, reach out to the closest person next to you and ask for support or call 1990. We need to look after each other during these difficult times,” he said.
Grappled in the worst economic crisis since march this year, Sri Lanka has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and other fuel, toilet paper, and even matches.
In view of this, the Sri Lanka government on Saturday announced to shut down all the schools and institutions for the coming week due to prolonged power cuts.
Sri Lanka Education Ministry advised organizing online classes for the students to avoid unnecessary commutes and conserve fuel.
The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 – 50 per cent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel, and credit shortages.
The people of the country have been forced to wait in lines for hours outside stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.
A total of 22 per cent of the Sri Lankan population or 4.9 million people live in need of food assistance at the moment, a high-level UN official said.
Latest surveys reveal that 86 per cent of households are using at least one coping mechanism such as reducing food intake, including skipping meals.
The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as reckless economic policies, like the government’s move last year to ban chemical fertilizers in a bid to make Sri Lanka’s agriculture “100 per cent organic”.
Due to an acute shortage of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka recently defaulted on the entirety of its foreign debt amounting to about USD 51 billion.