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Tuesday, 14 March 2017 - 8:03
A warning to Sri Lanka from World Food Programme
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World Food Programme has stated that Sri Lanka’s worst drought in five years has pushed 900,000 people into “acute food insecurity”.

An unpublished survey conducted by government agencies and relief organizations in February found that both food insecurity and debt were rising sharply among families hit by drought.

The country’s rice harvest could be the worst in 40 years, as the just-completed harvest was 63 percent below normal.

Government and WFP assessments suggest Sri Lanka’s 2017 rice harvest could be less than half the 3 million metric tons recorded last year.

According to WFP assessments the island needs 2.3 million metric tons of rice for annual consumption but the overall 2017 rice harvest is projected to yield just 1.44 metric tons.

The survey found that over one third of the drought-affected households had seen their income drop by half since September and 60 percent of the households surveyed were in debt.

Sri Lanka’s government said over 1.2 million people have been affected by the country’s current drought, which began last November.

The dire situation continues despite occasional rainfall experienced over the last two months.

Save the Children fund estimates that over 600,000 of those affected – two thirds of the total – are in fact, children.

The Western and Northern Provinces have been worst hit, with over 400,000 people struggling with drought in each province

The survey findings are expected to be formally released later this month.

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