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UN assures crisis-hit Sri Lanka with financial, technical support

The United Nations has assured Sri Lanka with UN’s financial and technical support as the South Asian island country attempts to recover from an economic crisis.

UN Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja has assured this support as the South Asian island country attempted to recover from an economic crisis.

Wignaraja made the remarks on Wednesday at a meeting between Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and a delegation he headed, g the President’s Media Division reported.

The discussions focused on economic reforms, with the delegation recognizing difficult decisions would have to be taken in order to ensure long-term recovery and growth in the country.

United Nations visiting Assistant Secretary General Kanni Wignaraja has appreciated the efforts taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Government in resolving the economic crisis in the country.

Wignaraja reiterated the UN’s financial and technical support for Sri Lanka during this recovery period, a statement from the President’s Media Office said.

The President also briefed the visiting delegation on the political reforms in the country, including the establishment of the Constitutional Council in Parliament and the ongoing discussions with the other political parties, regarding a resolution to the ethnic issues in Sri Lanka. The delegation welcomed the steps taken by the Government.

Amidst Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis since independence, the UN recently revised its joint Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan, appealing for more life-saving assistance to aid 3.4 million people.

Since June 2022, the UN team in Sri Lanka and NGOs have used the HNP to respond to the Government’s request for more support to alleviate the impact of the country’s debt and food crisis, and shortages of medicines.

Governments and donor agencies have helped the humanitarian community reach over one million of the country’s most vulnerable with cash, food, school meals, medicine, protection, and livelihood support.

“We are immensely appreciative of the solidarity the international community has shown with the people of Sri Lanka, including through their generous contributions to the HNP”, said UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, adding that it must be sustained “if we are to insulate the most at-risk people from the impacts of the ongoing crisis”.

Aligned with appeals from other UN agencies, the HNP has raised $79 million for Sri Lanka through various countries and organizations (click here for the full list).

The HNP revision, which extends the plan through 2022, requires $70 million in additional funds to reach a total of $149.7 million.

In response to the humanitarian community’s updated estimates on the number of people in need across all 25 of Sri Lanka’s districts, the extended appeal will improve nutrition for children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers; secure safe drinking water; and protect vulnerable farming and fishing households.

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