Anniken Huitfeldt, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, says that there is an acute food and nutrition crisis in Sri Lanka.
“I am concerned about the food and nutrition crisis we are witnessing in Sri Lanka right now. The dire humanitarian situation has a severe impact on women and children. Norway is providing 13 million kroner to meet urgent needs.
This support will be provided through the United Nations and will target food security and protection efforts. If no immediate action is taken, the situation is sure to worsen in the coming months.
Over 6.3 million people in Sri Lanka are food insecure. 40% of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people do not have adequate nutrition. 70% of Sri Lankans have had to reduce their food intake.
“Norway will provide support to the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA),” said the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs in an announcement about the country’s situation.
Norway says the UN fears that the situation could worsen and develop into a full-scale humanitarian crisis due to failed harvests and the ongoing economic and political crises in the country. They say Sri Lankans are grappling with high price hikes for essential commodities like rice and wheat flour and shortages of fuel and medicine. Meanwhile, due to the shortage of fuel, it has become difficult for food items to reach the market.
“Even before the current crisis, Sri Lanka had one of the highest percentages of malnourished children in the world. Children and pregnant and lactating women are particularly affected by the food and nutrition crisis. Women and children are increasingly vulnerable to abuse and sexual and gender-based violence.
Norway will provide NOK 5 million to the World Food Program (WFP) targeting vulnerable groups. In addition, NOK 5 million and NOK 3 million will be given to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) respectively for their work to protect children and women. Norway prioritizes combating sexual and gender-based violence and providing protection to children, and these efforts are greatly needed in Sri Lanka.
“Norway will draw on the support provided by the humanitarian reserve set aside to enable a rapid response to new acute crises or unfunded crises as the need arises throughout the year,” the statement said.