Sri Lanka: Devastating crisis for children, a ‘cautionary tale’ for South Asia
“As the economic crisis continues to rattle Sri Lanka, it is the poorest, most vulnerable girls and boys who are paying the steepest price."@g_laryeaadjei calls for urgent funds, as we scale up our response.https://t.co/9HQJqtEwGa
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) August 26, 2022
Mass food insecurity will only further promote malnutrition, poverty, disease and death in the region, he added.
Nascent food insecurity has compounded the social issues already plaguing the nation. The UN estimates that half of children in Sri Lanka already require some form of emergency assistance.
Education, one sector slammed by the economic crisis, has seen decreased student enrollment and a deficit in resources, in addition to commutes made dangerous by outdated infrastructure.
Increase in abuse
Mr. Laryea-Adjei further revealed that, “reports are already emerging of an increase in abuse, exploitation and violence against children due to the mounting economic pressure.”
Similarly, in Sri Lanka, there are already over 10,000 children in institutional care, mainly as a result of poverty. These institutions do not provide the key familial support that is essential for childhood development.
Unfortunately, the current crisis is pushing more and more families to place their children in institutions, as they are no longer able to care for them.
Progress ‘erased permanently’
“If the current trend continues, hard-earned progress for children in Sri Lanka is at risk of being reversed and in some cases, erased permanently,” Mr. Laryea-Adjei said.
UNICEF has been active in Sri Lanka for over 50 years. With the support of global partners, UNICEF has distributed education supplies, provided meals to pre-school children and badly needed cash transfers to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
However, the current economic crisis has revealed the vulnerability at heart of Sri Lankan social infrastructure, he noted.