6.26 mn in SL food insecure: WEP

Colombo, July 7 (Agency) The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that 6.26 million people in Sri Lanka are food insecure and that it will target three million people to receive emergency food, nutrition and school meals until December. “Three in 10 households (6.26 million people) are food insecure, of which 65,600 are severely food insecure and 200,000 households are using emergency livelihood coping strategies,” the Daily Mirror on Thursday quoted WEP as saying. The WFP has distributed 88 per cent (2,100) of the first 2,375 food vouchers to pregnant women. The Sri Lankan population continues to feel the brunt of the economic and food crises, it added.

Food inflation was alarmingly high at 57.4 per cent in June. Steeply increasing food prices have crippled the population’s ability to put sufficient and nutritious food on the table, the WEP said.The majority of assessed households (61 percent) were regularly employing food-based coping strategies such as eating less preferred and less nutritious food, and reducing the amount of food they eat, it said.

Two in five households were not consuming adequate diet, it added. The food security situation was worst among people living in the tea estate sector, where more than half of households were food insecure, the WEP said. In all measures of food insecurity and coping strategies, these households have consistently poorer outcomes than urban and rural populations.While urban households are depleting savings to cope for now, tea estate populations were already turning to credit to purchase food and other necessities, the report said. Sri Lanka is battling its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.