UNICEF is requesting $25.3 million in order to save lives and provide nutrition, healthcare, safe drinking water, education, and mental health services to 1.7 million vulnerable children in Sri Lanka over the next seven months.
Within the next four months, the UN has already launched an appeal to address the most vulnerable population’s urgent needs.
The crippling crisis in Sri Lanka has left nearly half of the country’s children in need of humanitarian assistance.
“The current crisis is pushing families to their breaking point,” Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka, said. “Children are going to bed upset and hungry.
Many children do not attend school on a regular basis, and hospitals are rapidly running out of medications, including those for children and pregnant women.
If we do not act now, the most vulnerable boys and girls will bear the brunt of the consequences of a crisis that was not their fault.”
Even before the current crisis, Sri Lanka had the second highest rate of child malnutrition in South Asia, with 2 out of every 5 infants not receiving the minimum acceptable diet.
With food prices skyrocketing, 70% of households are now reporting lower food consumption, and the fuel crisis and frequent power outages are impeding vital services for children, such as healthcare and education. Access to safe drinking and domestic water is dwindling, raising the risk of water-borne diseases.
“The current crisis is disproportionately affecting Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable boys and girls, who are already dealing with the toxic combination of poverty, COVID-19, and repeated climate-related disasters,” Mr. Skoog said.
“Through its humanitarian appeal, UNICEF is urging donors to support Sri Lanka’s children.” Together, we can ensure that Sri Lanka’s long-term gains for children are not permanently reversed.”
UNICEF intends to do the following as part of its children’s appeal:
Treat 56,000 children for severe acute malnutrition.
Ensure 100,000 young children benefit from school feeding programmes.
Ensure 1.2 million children and women can access primary health care in UNICEF-supported facilities.
Provide 1.5 million families with safe water for drinking and domestic needs.
Provide 2,500 girls and women with menstrual hygiene management services
Provide mental health services and psychosocial support to 984,000 children and parents/caregivers.
Ensure 665,700 children access formal or non-formal education, including early learning.
Provide 122,000 vulnerable households with cash assistance to afford the basics of life.
With more than 50 years of field presence in Sri Lanka and a network of partners across the country, UNICEF is leading efforts on the ground to save lives and ensure children are spared the most devastating impacts of the crisis.