In island nation of Sri Lanka, an severe economic crisis, massive debt described as a “bankrupt country” by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has led to serious repercussions like shortages of basic necessities including medicines, cooking gas, fuel and food.
Sri Lanka’s government said it only had enough petrol to last one day as it faces its worst crisis in 70 years. This has prompted everything school closures and talks of airlines shutting down.
Sri Lanka’s growing economic and food crises are pushing millions over the edge. About 22 percent of its population are food insecure and more are feeling the pinch of food shortages as prices continue to rise. Food price inflation has now hit 58 percent.
The shortages of food, fuel, and medicine turned months of protests into violence. In May, the US State Department issued a travel advisory for Sri Lanka stating:
Sri Lanka is experiencing shortages of fuel and cooking gas as well as some medicines and essential food items, due to the ongoing economic situation in country. There have recently been protests over the economic situation and queues at gas stations, grocery stores, and some pharmacies. Protests have occurred throughout the country and have mostly been peaceful. In some instances, police have used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters. There have also been daily planned power outages across the island, as well as some unplanned power outages, as fuel for backup generators is increasingly scarce. Public transportation in some instances has been limited or curtailed.
A self-described upper middle class individual from Sri Lanka described the situation on Reddit yesterday:
I am from Sri Lanka. This is my first hand experience.
Fuel is highly restricted and rationed. Ques are few kilometers long. people wait few days in line just for meager quota (Cars 15 liters, Tuktuks 5 litres, bikes 3 liters). Police and Military deployed at all gas stations. Police and government employees are accused of Fuel black market (About $3-5 per liter). Although health care is prioritized on Fridays, there is no fuel, so that is meaningless.
There is 3 hour daily power cut. It used to be 13 hours per day at the peak, but now eased after rain due to increased hydro power capacity. Also, thermal power generation is lucrative and corrupted with heavy political collusion.
There is an alarming medicine shortage but that is being resolved with the help of UN and few other countries. Still hospitals are affected with transport and power issues.
Imports are restricted which paved way for black markets.
Government tried to implement 100% organic farming, and due to that the crops were declined more than 50%. So, now we have to to import rice (which is our staple and self sufficient) too
The current Prime Minister has only one seat (himself only) and he hold the post for the sixth time. Its just a political game.
Schools are closed for extended periods due to transport problems. Once the term tests were cancelled due to non availability of papers to print question papers.
All the non-essential government employees were given two weeks leave to save fuel.
Sri Lanka has already defaulted its foreign currency debts, so, merchants reluctant to accept letters of credits issued by local banks.
People are trying to leave the country for good reasons, so, last June, we have issued the highest number of new passports in a month.
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