The distribution of aid, including rice and powdered milk, received under India’s line of credit to low-income families in Sri Lanka has begun, the Food Commissioner’s Department announced on Sunday.
Food Commissioner JP Krishnamurthy said distribution of aid to low-income families in all 25 districts including Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Mullaitivu, Ampara and others has already started.
Krishnamurthy said the Sri Lankan government will provide parcels containing 10 kg of rice each to low-income families selected at the divisional secretariat level. Krishnamurthy said Sri Lanka “has received this essential stockpile of food and medicine worth about Rs 2 billion with the intervention of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.”
However, the commissioner mentioned that the current fuel shortage has severely hampered the distribution of aid between districts. Sri Lanka is on the verge of bankruptcy and suffers from severe shortages of basic necessities, ranging from food, fuel, medicine and cooking gas to toilet paper and matches. For months people were forced to line up to buy the limited supplies.
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The island nation has faced its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1945. The economic crisis, which has left the neighboring country near bankruptcy, has also sparked political unrest with a protest occupying the entrance from the president’s office demanding his resignation. for the last 50 days. According to the commissioner, the distribution of aid to the districts is done by trains due to the anti-government protest “Go Rajapaksa” which also resulted in the death of a parliamentarian.
The food commissioner said that under the first phase, 9,000 metric tons of rice are to be donated, while another 31,000 metric tons are yet to be received by the country in the second phase. Last week, a shipment of 9,000 metric tons of rice, 50 metric tons of powdered milk and over 25 metric tons of drugs and other medical supplies arrived in Colombo.
The shipment was part of a larger US$16 million pledge of 40,000 metric tons of rice, 500 metric tons of milk powder and medicine by the Tamil Nadu government. The chorus of the Rajapaksa family’s resignation grew as people were hit by the continuing deterioration of economic conditions – long queues at fuel pumps and cooking gas shops, shortages of essentials , business collapse and long hours of power cuts.