The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Sri Lanka has welcomed a contribution of EUR 500,000 (Rs.190 million) from France towards its emergency response for children and families affected by the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Around 9,000 families facing high levels of food insecurity will receive nutritious food to help them feed their under-five children.
Each family will receive a food basket – valued at Rs.15,000 consisting of eggs, rice, fresh milk, red lentils and other protein-rich pulses – every fortnight over a period of one year.
“France stands in solidarity with Sri Lanka in the current crisis,” said Mr. Jean-François Pactet, Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka. “Today, food security is a major global challenge and France is committed to promote international cooperation to respond to it. The French contribution to WFP in Sri Lanka will bolster the resilience of the most vulnerable populations and help fight malnutrition among under-five children.”
According to the WFP-FAO Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) carried out in June-July this year, nearly 30 percent of the country’s population – 6.3 million people – are food insecure. WFP’s latest surveys indicate that nearly seven out of 10 households are using negative coping strategies, such as skipping meals, limiting portion sizes and eating less nutritious food.
“Parents are cutting back on what they eat to be able to feed their children,” said Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, WFP Sri Lanka Representative and Country Director. “Steep food price increases, loss of jobs and reduced incomes are pushing nutritious meals out of reach for millions of people. We are grateful for this timely contribution from France. It will enable us to provide critical food assistance to young children to stave off malnutrition.”
WFP will work in partnership with the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians to reach children in areas where malnutrition rates are high. In collaboration with the Family Health Bureau and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, children who require nutritional support will be identified by medical officers and midwives at child welfare clinics. Working together, the partners will track child health standards by monitoring their progress over a one-year period.
This contribution from France is in line with its International Strategy for Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture (2019-2024) and its recent commitments in the framework of the “Nutrition for Growth” (N4G) initiative to ensure healthy, nutritional and sufficient food for all and enable populations to regain their food autonomy.
France joins global efforts to support WFP’s emergency operation in Sri Lanka. Launched in June, the operation aims to provide food and nutrition assistance to 3.4 million people in the coming months, and nearly 900,000 people have already received cash, vouchers and food assistance to date.