Colombo, Jun 11 (EFE).- The United States Embassy in Sri Lanka announced Friday a financial aid of $100,000 for those affected by the sinking of a ship loaded with chemicals off the coast of the island country.
This amount will be funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and comes in addition to the aid that will be provided by the country’s government.
The Singapore-registered X-Press Pearl vessel last week caught fire and subsequently sank off the western coast of Sri Lanka, severely impacting the livelihood of the fishing communities in the region, while also causing fears of an ecological catastrophe.
“The United States is committed to helping mitigate environmental impacts from the MV X-Press Pearl fire,” the US Embassy’s Chargé d’affaires Martin Kelly in the press release.
“Ever since the ship caught fire, we can’t sell our fish. We don’t have an income and it is very hard to continue to live this way,” SM Wasantha, 29, who works in a fish market near Colombo told EFE.
Kelly underlined that the amount allocated by the US “will support livelihoods and enable fisherfolk and their families to cope with the developing situation.”
Meanwhile, the government of Sri Lanka has pledged to compensate the affected families with 5,000 Sri Lankan rupees (about $25).
The X-press Pearl, carrying about 1,500 containers loaded with nitric acid and other chemicals, caught fire on May 20 and sank last week after burning for days causing fears of possible oil spill.
The Sri Lankan authorities, who have been examining the area for days for fear of a spill, believe that most of the oil and other hazardous chemicals evaporated or burned during the fire.
However, they have opened an investigation into the sudden death of several marine species following the sinking of the ship.
In September last year, the MT New Diamond, carrying 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, also caught fire in Sri Lankan waters. EFE