Conflicts & War

Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis intensifies as new limits take effect

Colombo, Jun 18 (EFE).- The ground situation in Sri Lanka remained largely unchanged on Tuesday after authorities limited the use of fuel for essential services from midnight to try and extend the last available reserves until Jul. 10, although sections of the population faced more difficulties amid a prolonged and unprecedented crisis.

Long queues were again witnessed outside fuel stations in a scene which has now become a common sight in the country, and people like Madhura Chinthaka, a 34-year-old three-wheeler taxi driver, could not secure any fuel, as this kind of taxi is not listed as part of essential services.

“I am tired and frustrated. How can we go on like this? My children haven’t gone to school, and I haven’t worked for days. I never thought we would have to live like this,” Madhura, who is the only earning member of the family, told EFE.

The decision’s effects could also be seen on the streets of Colombo and its suburbs, as schools were shut down and people urged to work from home until further notice.

Sri Lanka is holding talks with several companies from oil producing countries to try and ease the fuel crisis that has crippled socioeconomic life on the island for months.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s representatives have also launched discussions with Russia in an attempt to secure fuel.

Sri Lanka’s energy minister, Kanchana Wijesekera, tweeted on Tuesday that he had met Qatar’s energy affairs minister and the chairman of Qatar Petroleum, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, to explore the possibility of opening a petroleum product supply line through the Qatar Fund for Development.

The US also pledged to send additional aid worth $20 million as part of its commitment to “food security, public health, and the economic well-being of all Sri Lankan people,” tweeted US ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung.

Meanwhile Colombo has approached China and Japan to restructure its debt and currently a team of the International Monetary Fund is in the country to discuss a bailout program to help with the economic crisis.

Sri Lanka has for months been mired in a deep economic crisis, with hours-long power cuts and grave shortages of essential goods such as fuel, cooking gas and medicines.

Moreover, government measures to manage public spending, such as printing excess currency and the resulting devaluation of the rupee, have worsened the situation. EFE


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