86% of families resorting to coping mechanisms – WFP

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About 86 per cent of families in Sri Lanka are resorting to at least one coping mechanism, including eating less, eating less nutritious food, and even skipping meals altogether, in light of the worsening economic crisis, a survey of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) revealed.

In response to the situation, the WFP yesterday (16) began distributing food vouchers to pregnant women in underserved districts of Colombo, marking the start of WFP’s emergency response in the country. WFP is working to provide life-saving food, cash, and voucher assistance to three million of the most vulnerable people who can no longer meet their food needs due to the country’s unprecedented economic crisis.

The monthly vouchers are valued at Rs 15,000 (US$ 40) and will enable more than 2,000 women to buy much-needed food, and are delivered alongside antenatal care provided by the Public Health Division of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC).

Food inflation in Colombo was at a record high of 57.4 per cent in May, and widespread shortages of fuel for cooking and transport means poor families are struggling to afford food. Nearly 5 million people, or 22 per cent of the Sri Lankan population, are food insecure and in need of assistance. Nutritious food, such as vegetables, fruits, and protein-rich products are now out of reach for many low income families. WFP’s recent surveys indicated 86 per cent of families are resorting to at least one coping mechanism, including eating less, eating less nutritious food, and even skipping meals altogether.

Existing donors to WFP’s Sri Lanka programme include Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Mastercard, Russia, Switzerland, United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, and the United States.