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UNDP launches ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ crowdfunding platform

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An online crowdfunding platform titled ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is now live providing the opportunity for global citizens to contribute to alleviating the impacts of the crisis in the island nation, the UNDP said.The facility can be accessed at www.undp.org/srilanka/donate.

Sri Lanka is undergoing its worst economic crisis since Independence, after excessive money printing led to galloping inflation, which led to a massive drop in the standard of living and quality of life.

“To rally global support to rebuild the island nation rich in culture and diversity, the crowdfunding platform will facilitate contributions towards ongoing support to provide food security and medicines to the vulnerable people in Sri Lanka,” the UNPD said in a statement on Friday September 09.

Through the ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ platform, interested parties can contribute to two ailing sectors: healthcare and food.

Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director, Bureau for Asia and the Pacific stated, “The ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ platform will enable people from across the globe to directly support vulnerable families in Sri Lanka through the procurement of critical medical supplies and strengthened food security efforts. The platform will provide full transparency over the use of funds, to ensure that these contributions will go exactly where they are needed. UNDP is committed to stand with the people of Sri Lanka in this time of need.”

Sri Lanka’s healthcare and agriculture sectors are in states of exhaustion due to inadequacies in fuel supply and the depleting financial reserves which is barring everyday procedures.According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 30 percent of the population is food insecure and is in search of humanitarian assistance.

Sri Lanka spiraled into a food shortage combined with skyrocketing inflation due to a decision taken in April 2021 when fertilizer was banned which resulted in a massive gap in domestic agricultural production. Moreover, scarcity of foreign exchange reserves and depreciation of the local currency have caused food shortages and adversely affected the quality of life for citizens.

“The ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ crowdfunding platform will engage with well-known Sri Lankan and International personalities from across various fields, to echo and help reach wider global audiences interested in contributing towards essential crisis relief in Sri Lanka,” said the statement.

Several local partners have pledged to support Sri Lanka’s health sector, brands such as Hemas Holdings PLC, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company, Brandix Apparel Limited, Daraz Sri Lanka, Citi Foundation and Amana Bank alongside the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Sarvodaya, the United Nations Global Compact Network Sri Lanka and oDoc Sri Lanka have also come on board as strategic partners of the facility,” the statement said.

Mynamar donated 1,000 MT of rice to Sri Lanka worth Sri Lankan 170 million rupees (approximately 463,215 US dollars), which is to arrive in the island by the end of September.Sri Lanka has been receiving donations of food and medical supplies from countries such as Australia, China, India, United States, Japan.



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U.S. Ambassador to UN Agencies in Rome Cindy McCain to visit Lanka

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Colombo, September 23, 2022: United States Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome Ambassador Cindy McCain will visit Sri Lanka from September 25-28 to highlight U.S. food assistance programs in Sri Lanka and reinforce the U.S. commitment and lasting partnership with the island nation.

In addition to meeting with senior government officials and aid organizations in Colombo, Ambassador McCain will join U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung to travel to Central Province to visit schools, agricultural research facilities, and community organizations and meet with recipients and implementers of relief provided through U.S. government-funded humanitarian assistance programs.

The United States is the single largest country donor to the three United Nations food and agriculture agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).  U.S.-funded UN projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the government of Sri Lanka collaborate to reduce food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth, especially at this critical time of increased global hunger.

The United States has provided partnership and assistance to the people and government of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years.  Since June, Ambassador Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly $240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional $40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer and $20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.

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President urges SL diaspora in the UK to invest in their motherland

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By Sujeeva Nivunhella
reporting from London

President Ranil Wickremesinghe last week urged the Sri Lanka diaspora in the United Kingdom to invest in Sri Lanka projects to revive the economy. Addressing a gathering at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, he said that he is proud that the British Sri Lankan community for making a mark in every field of the UK economy such as trading, services, business, and requested them to come together as Sri Lankans and people of Sri Lankan origin to help build the motherland.

The President added that Sri Lanka is looking at transforming its economy to a competitive export-oriented one to meet the current challenges and build social systems and modernize the education system.

He remarked on the special affection Queen Elizabeth II had towards Sri Lanka as the Head of the Commonwealth and the longest serving Head of State of Ceylon for 20 years prior to the nation becoming a Republic and stated that her passing is the end of an era.

The president, first lady and party arrived in London on Sept. 17 via Dubai by an Emirates flight to attend the State Funeral Service of Queen Elizabeth II.They were received at the Heathrow airport by High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena and were driven to the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane, London where they stayed.

On Sunday (Sept. 18), the President accompanied by the First Lady and High Commissioner attended the Lying-in-State of the late Queen at the Palace of Westminster which was followed by a Reception hosted by His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.The President and the First Lady attended the State Funeral Service held at the Westminster Abbey on Monday (Sept. 19).  On the same day, he signed the Book of Condolence. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly MP hosted a reception for the visiting world leaders at Church House.

On 20th September, the President met the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland QC. They discussed Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and matters of mutual interest. He also visited the London Buddhist Vihara during which Ven Dr Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Incumbent of the Vihara and the Chief Sanga Nayaka of Great Britain invoked blessings on the President and the people of Sri Lanka.

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Families countrywide facing malnutrition, says Cardinal

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By Norman Palihawadane

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has warned that the prevailing economic crisis and increasing unemployment and food prices are accelerating malnutrition among hundred thousands of families countrywide.

Addressing a ceremony at the annual get-together of the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Service held at St Peter’s College Auditorium in Colombo, the Archbishop said that it was a shame that responsible local officials keep denying the prevailing status quo when world humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF continue to warn of the increasing malnutrition levels among children.

Many international organizations have pointed out that malnutrition in Sri Lanka was increasing at an alarming rate but the authorities responsible are hiding the truth and go to the extent of rejecting such reports.

“If they reject the reports of international organizations, then it is their paramount duty of conduct proper surveys to understand the situation. It is no secret that large numbers of Lankan families are starving due to the high prices of food. According to the UNICEF more than six million people consume only a single meal a day. It is so unfortunate that Health Ministry officials who spend their times in the air conditioned rooms in Colombo do not know the plight of the poor in rural areas,” the Cardinal said.He said that 225 MPs were concerned only of their well-being while continuing to ignore the actual and pressing issues of people.

“This country is in dire situation today mainly due to inefficient and corrupt political leaders. It is sad that these so-called people’s representatives are not concerned of the situation of people who are experiencing the worst ever economic and political crisis this country has ever faced,” the Cardinal said.

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