Sri Lanka News: Indian aid distribution begins in Sri Lanka

Distribution of the aid, including rice and milk powder, received under the Indian credit line to low-income families in Sri Lanka has started, the food commissioner’s department said on Sunday. Food Commissioner JP Krishnamurthy said aid distribution to low-income families has already started in all 25 districts, including Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Mullaitivu, Ampara and others.

Krishnamurthy said that the Sri Lankan government will distribute 10 kg packets of rice to low-income families selected at the Division Secretariat level.

Krishnamurthy said Sri Lanka “received this vital supply of food and medicines worth around Rs. 2 billion through the intervention of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin.

However, the commissioner mentioned that the current fuel shortage has severely hampered the distribution of aid among districts.

Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and faces serious shortages of basic necessities, from food, fuel, medicines and cooking gas to toilet paper and matches. For months, people have been forced to stand in long lines to buy the limited supplies.

The island nation is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1945. The economic crisis, which nearly left the neighboring country bankrupt, has also sparked political unrest with a protest at the entrance to the President’s office demanding his resignation for the last 50 days.

According to the commissioner, the distribution of relief supplies to the districts is being carried out by trains because of the anti-government “Go Rajapaksa” protests, in which one MP was killed.

The food commissioner explained that 9,000 tons of rice should be donated in the first phase, while another 31,000 tons of rice must be received from the country in the second phase.

Last week, a shipment of 9,000 tons of rice, 50 tons of milk powder and more than 25 tons of medicines and other medical supplies reached Colombo.

The shipment was part of a larger US$16 million pledge of 40,000 tonnes of rice, 500 tonnes of milk powder and medicines by the Tamil Nadu government.

The chorus for the Rajapaksa family’s resignations gained momentum as people were hit by ever-worsening economic conditions — long lines at gas stations and cooking gas stores, shortages of basic necessities, collapsing businesses and hour-long power outages.

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