Families cannot guarantee three meals a day, and most do not know when the next meal will be available. According to the UN agency, the same situation could occur in other South Asian countries. Save the Children and the United States Department of Agriculture sent 3,000 tons of food.
Colombo () – Sri Lanka’s child malnutrition is the highest in South Asia: according to Unicef, it is the poorest and most vulnerable children who are paying “the highest price” of the economic crisis.
More and more families are unable to offer their children three meals a day due to rising prices of basic foods, including rice. Most kids skip dinner, sometimes breakfast, and don’t know when they can have their next meal. Sri Lanka’s 22 million people are mired in an unprecedented economic crisis: according to the World Bank, Sri Lanka is the world’s fifth-highest inflation country, after Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Turkey, while Lebanon tops the ranking.
For Unicef, the emergence of Sri Lanka is a warning to other South Asian countries that are on the brink of an economic crisis. The UN estimates that 50% of Sri Lankan children need some kind of humanitarian aid. Currently, about 10,000 children are in institutions because families cannot take care of them, but the establishments do not offer the necessary support for child development.
UNICEF South Asia Director George Laryea-Adjei, after visiting the country, is convinced that emerging food insecurity has intensified the social problems already plaguing the island nation. The current situation will further fuel malnutrition, poverty, disease and premature death. Laryea-Adjei believes that in solutions, “you have to put children at the center” while the country works to resolve the crisis.
If the current trend continues, Sri Lankan children “are at risk of being oppressed” and their situation could worsen in the near future, explain political and economic analysts in dialogue with . Therefore, it is necessary for international organizations such as the UN and Unicef to “step in” to help Sri Lankans cope with the economic crisis.
The United States, through the Department of Agriculture and in collaboration with Save the Children, donated 320 tons of peas to the children of Sri Lanka as part of a larger donation of 3,000 tons of food.
Sri Lanka has fallen into default as a result of the currency crisis and in April of this year announced the suspension of foreign debt payments, which today amounts to 7,000 million dollars. In 2026 the term for the payment of 25,000 million dollars of the debt expires. The economic crisis puts millions of people in difficulty, who barely manage to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essential items.