Economic crisis in Sri Lanka: ‘I don’t have money to buy milk for my babies’

The smell hits you first. Freshly cooked rice, lentils and spinach delivered by ladles from steaming cauldrons.

Dozens of families, including mothers with babies, lined up with plates in their hands to get what would most likely be the only meal of the day.

“We’re here because we’re hungry,” says Chandrika Manel, mother of four.

After making balls of rice with her hands and mixing it with lentils and spinach, she gives it to one of her children and tells that even buying bread is a struggle.

“Sometimes I give the kids milk and rice, but we can’t cook vegetables. It’s too expensive,” she says.

Decreased foreign exchange reserves and raging inflation have wreaked havoc on the Sri Lankan economy in recent months. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is accused of magnifying the crisis triggered by the pandemic and declining tourism.

But the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, told the BBC that Sri Lanka is currently on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.

The organization announced that 70% of the families in the country have been cutting food since the beginning of the year, and that the stock of fuel and medicine has rapidly decreased.

‘My children are miserable’

This is Manel’s first visit to the soup kitchen and his options are running low. “The cost of living is so great that we borrow money to live,” he says.

The soup kitchen was established a month ago. It was started by Pastor Moses Akash at a church in Colombo after he met a single mother who had been trying to survive by eating fruit for three days.


Alexander focuses on breaking news stories and ensuring we offer timely reporting on some of the latest stories released through market wires. He has previously spent over 5 years as a trader in us stock market and is now semi-retired. Now he works for specializing in quicker moving active shares with a short term view on investment opportunities and trends. He covers financial sector news.

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