Colombo, Jun 10 (EFE).- The severe economic crisis gripping Sri Lanka has left nearly half of its children in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations Children’s Agency said Friday.
In the face of the ongoing crisis, UNICEF has appealed for $25.3 million to send aid to 1.7 million vulnerable children in the Indian Ocean nation in the next seven months.
The aid will ensure nutrition, healthcare, safe drinking water, education, and mental health services for the children, UNICEF said.
“The current crisis is stretching families to their limits,” Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka, said.
“Children are going to bed distressed and on empty stomachs. Many children are not regularly attending school, and hospitals are fast running out of medicines, including for children and pregnant women. If we do not act now, it is the most vulnerable boys and girls who will pay the highest price for a crisis not of their making,” he added.
According to UNICEF, before the current crisis, Sri Lanka had the second highest child malnutrition rate in South Asia and two in five infants were not fed the minimum acceptable diet.
“The current crisis is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable boys and girls in Sri Lanka, who were already confronted with the toxic combination of poverty, COVID-19, and repeated climate-related disasters,” Skoog said.
The UN agency added that soaring food prices have caused 70% of households to reduce food consumption, and the fuel crisis and frequent power cuts are hindering vital services for children, including healthcare and education.
“UNICEF is strongly urging donors to support Sri Lanka’s children through its humanitarian appeal. Together, we can ensure the steady gains for children made by Sri Lanka over many years are not permanently reversed,” Skoog said. EFE