Food Security Unit set up at President’s office

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A programme has been implemented at the Divisional Secretariat level to assist poverty stricken families, especially children, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said yesterday (22).

Accordingly, on special instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, a Food Security Programme Unit has been established at the President’s Office and information can be provided by contacting the unit on their hotlines 0114354647 or 0114354354 and extension number 5705/5707.

This initiative has been launched following reports about an incident in which a student had consumed coconut kernel for lunch due to poverty. The PMD said it was proven that the said news was false and such incident had not been reported to the authorities in the area.

However, in view of the current economic situation in the country, if any child, person or family is in this situation anywhere in the country, a special programme has already been implemented for them at the Divisional Secretariat level and District Secretariats.

Accordingly, Samurdhi recipient families with more than 5 members, families with disabled and people with chronic illnesses, poverty stricken families with children below five years, families without a spouse, families with pregnant and lactating mothers and poverty stricken families who have not even received primary education, who are facing severe food insecurity, have been identified as criteria for providing assistance under the World Food Programme.

Accordingly, it is possible to provide
Rs 15,000 monthly under the World Food Programme for such families through Grama Niladhari Officers and Divisional Secretaries. This money will be provided to them for the first three months and a food programme will be implemented for another six months. In addition to this, the government has taken steps to provide a monthly allowance of Rs 10,000, to 61,000 poverty stricken families for a period of six months.

If there are families who are not included in any of these programmes and are suffering from lack of food, there is a possibility of providing food for them on short-term basis and they should make a request through the Grama Niladhari Officers, Divisional Secretaries or the Food Security Programme Unit of the Presidential Secretariat.

In addition, if there are families with malnourished children, a study will be conducted and food aid programmes will be implemented for such families through programmes such as the parental guardian system, implemented by the government.

Further, school teachers can also intervene and forward information about families suffering from lack of food to the Food Security Programme and those who are willing and able to help such families also have the opportunity to get involved and contribute. Apart from that, Grama Niladhari Officers and Divisional Secretaries have the opportunity to contact the Food Security Programme and coordinate the implementation of these programmes.