US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced an additional USD 20 million in assistance to feed over 800,000 children and 27,000 pregnant and lactating women over the next 15 months in Sri Lanka, which is currently facing its worst economic crisis.
Biden announced the fresh assistance at the G7 Summit in Germany, the US embassy here said.
The funding will support a school nutrition programme for students and provide food vouchers for pregnant and lactating women aimed at strengthening food security in Sri Lanka.
The effort also plans to support approximately 30,000 farmers through the contribution of agricultural assistance and cash in order to increase food production in vulnerable communities in the debt ridden country.
“President Biden’s announcement of USD 20 million in additional assistance to Sri Lanka demonstrates the United States’ ongoing commitment to food security, public health, and the economic well-being of all Sri Lankan people,” said US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung.
The ambassador in a statement added that the US would continue to support Sri Lankan efforts to promote economic stability. Chung added that the US will ensure this assistance reaches the communities and children who need it the most.
Tuesday's humanitarian assistance builds on nearly USD 12 million in recent US commitments in economic and humanitarian assistance, totalling USD 32 million in US support for the Sri Lankan people since June 16 this year.
The funding is provided through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and will be awarded to partners that adhere to globally recognised monitoring and evaluation standards.
The statement said the US will ensure that the funding is accounted for and assistance reaches those identified as most vulnerable to food insecurity. The island nation's unprecedented economic crisis caused by forex shortages has led to a severe crisis in the energy sector.
Fuel shortages have seen long queues at retailers and with the end of the credit line worth USD 700 million granted by India, the pumps have run dry. The government announced last night that till July 10 the limited stocks would be made available only to essential services.
The move was necessitated after state-owned refinery Ceylon Petroleum Corporation informed the Sri Lankan government on Saturday that there would be a delay in the arrival of fuel shipments due to banking and logistical reasons.