New York, August 27
As Sri Lanka continues to suffer its worst financial slump, staple foods have become unaffordable, severe malnutrition is among the highest in the region and it is the poorest, most vulnerable girls and boys who are paying the steepest price, UNICEF has warned.
UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia George Laryea-Adjei said nascent food insecurity had compounded the social issues already plaguing the island nation.
10,000 children in institutional care
- According to the UN, over 10,000 children in Sri Lanka are in institutional care, mainly as a result of poverty
- These institutions do not provide the key familial support that is essential for childhood development
“Families are skipping regular meals as staple foods become unaffordable. Children are going to bed hungry, unsure of where their next meal will come from,” he said in a statement on Friday.
Noting that more steps should be taken to help Sri Lankan children affected by the economic crisis, Laryea-Adjei said: “Children need to be placed squarely at the heart of the solution as the country works to resolve the crisis.” Mass food insecurity will only further promote malnutrition, poverty, disease and death in the region, he said, adding severe malnutrition in crisis-wracked Sri Lanka was already among the highest in the region. “As the economic crisis continues to rattle Sri Lanka, it is the poorest, most vulnerable girls and boys who are paying the steepest price,” UNICEF tweeted on Friday. The UN estimates that half of the children in Sri Lanka already require some form of emergency assistance. Education, one sector slammed by the economic crisis, has seen decreased student enrollment and a deficit in resources, in addition to commutes made dangerous by outdated infrastructure.